From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, about November-December 1889
Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, inv. no. b672 c V/1962
The letter fragment and poem were probably written about November-December 1889: on p. 1 Bernard’s parents are mentioned (they also appear in letter 823 of 26 November 1889 and letter 827 of 9 or 10 December 1889). Van Gogh also copied the poem in letter 832 of about 23 December 889.
In Verzamelde brieven 1973 and De brieven 1990, this text was assigned to letter 839, but we see no reason to do so, nor can we find a compelling argument to place it with any other letter. It seems, rather, that Van Gogh kept the sheet for himself because of the poem he copied on p. 2, since the sheet is torn all around this poem.
Because he added several lines of verse in this version (ll. 35a-35e), it is highly likely that he attempted to reconstruct the poem. We therefore assume that this loose leaf – which, considering the remark about Seurat (l. 21), must originally have been addressed to Theo – was never sent.