My dear Theo,
and I went to Montpellier to see the museum there, and especially the Bruyas
— there are many portraits of Bruyas, by Delacroix
by others too.9
After that there are paintings by Delacroix,10
,12 Paul Potter
,14 T. Rousseau
was a benefactor to artists, and this is all I’ll say to you: in the Delacroix
portrait, he’s a gentleman with a beard, red hair, who looks damnably like you or me, and who made me think of that poem by Musset
... everywhere I touched the earth, an unfortunate man dressed in black came to sit beside us, a man who looked at us like a brother.16
It would have the same effect on you, I’m sure.
I’d really ask you to go and see, at that bookshop where they sell lithographs of ancient and modern artists,17
if you could manage to get the lithograph after Delacroix
’s ‘Tasso in the madhouse’18
without great expense, since it would seem to me that this figure (by Delacroix) must have some relationship to this fine Bruyas
They have other Delacroix
s there, a study of a mulatto woman (which Gauguin
Daniel in the lions’ den.21
, first, The village girls
, magnificent, a nude woman seen from the back, another on the ground, in a landscape.22
Second, The woman spinning23
(superb), and a whole load more Courbets. Anyway, you must know that this collection exists, or else know people who have seen it, and consequently be able to talk about it. So I shan’t insist on the museum (except for the Barye
drawings and bronzes!)24
The discussion is excessively electric. We sometimes emerge from it with tired minds, like an electric battery after it’s run down.
We’ve been right in the midst of magic, for as Fromentin
says so well, Rembrandt
is above all a magician25
a man of God, of God’s thunder and bugger off in the name of God.
I’m writing this to you with reference to our friends, the Dutchmen De Haan
, who have so sought and loved Rembrandt
, in order to encourage you to pursue the researches.
One mustn’t get discouraged about that. You know the strange and superb portrait of a man by Rembrandt
at the La Caze
I told Gauguin
that, for me, I saw in it a certain family or racial resemblance to Delacroix
, or to him, Gauguin.
I don’t know why, but I always call that portrait ‘the traveller’ or ‘the man coming from far away’.
That’s an equivalent and parallel idea to what I’ve already told you, always to look at the portrait of old Six
. The fine portrait with the glove for your future, and the Rembrandt
etching, Six reading by a window in a ray of sunlight, for your past and your present.27
That’s the stage we’re at.
said to me this morning, when I asked him how he felt: ‘that he could feel his old self coming back’, which gave me great pleasure.28
As for me, coming here last winter, tired and almost fainting mentally, I too suffered a little inside before I was able
to begin to remake myself.
How I’d like you to see that museum in Montpellier some day, there are some really beautiful things there!
Say so to Degas
and I have been to see the portrait of Bruyas
at Montpellier, for we must boldly believe that what is, is
, and the portrait of Bruyas by Delacroix resembles you and me like a new brother.
As regards setting up a life with painters as pals, you see such odd things and I’ll end with what you always say, time will tell.
You can tell all this to our friends Isaäcson
and De Haan
, and even boldly read them this letter, I would already have written to them if I’d felt the necessary electric force.
On behalf of Gauguin
as well as myself, a good, hearty handshake to you all.
If you think that Gauguin
or I have a facility
in our work, the work isn’t always accommodating. And for the Dutchmen
not to get discouraged in their difficulties any more than we do, that’s what I wish for them, and for you too.