The Hague, 17 March 1873

My dear Theo,
It’s time you heard from me again, and I’m also longing to hear how you are and how Uncle Hein is doing, so I hope you’ll write to me when you can find the time.
You’ll have heard that I’m going to London, and probably very soon.1 I do hope we’ll be able to see each other before then.
I’ll go to Helvoirt at Easter2 if I possibly can, but it will depend on the nouveautés that Iterson takes along on his trip.3 I won’t be able to leave  1v:2 until he gets back.
Life in L. will be very different for me, for I’ll probably have to live alone in lodgings, and will therefore have to deal with many things that I needn’t trouble myself with now.
I’m looking forward to seeing L. very much, as you can imagine, and yet I’m sorry to have to leave this place. I’m only just noticing how attached I am to The Hague, now that it’s been decided I must go away. Still, it can’t be helped, and I intend not to take things too hard. I think it’s wonderful for my English, which I understand well, though I don’t speak it nearly as well as I’d like.4  1v:3
I heard from Anna that you had your portrait taken.5 If you can spare another, I commend myself.
How is Uncle Hein? Certainly no better, and how is Aunt doing? Can Uncle keep himself occupied, and is he in a lot of pain? Give them my warm regards, I think of them so often.
How is business with you? It must be busy, as it is here. You probably know your way around by now.
How is your boarding-house? Is it still to your liking? That’s important. Above all, you must write more about the kind of things you see. Sunday a fortnight ago I was in Amsterdam to see an exhibition of the paintings going to Vienna from here.6 It was very interesting, and I’m curious  1r:4 as to the impression the Dutch will make in Vienna.
I’m very curious about the English painters, we see so little of them, because almost everything stays in England.
Goupil has no gallery in London; they only supply the trade.7
Uncle Cent is coming here at the end of the month, I’m longing to hear more from him.
The Haanebeeks and Aunt Fie8 ask after you constantly, and send you their regards.
What wonderful weather we’ve been having, I’m taking advantage of it as much as I can. Last Sunday I went rowing with Willem.9 How much I’d have liked to stay here this summer, but we must take things as they come. And now, adieu, I wish you well, and write to me. Bid good-day to Uncle and Aunt, Schmidt and Eduard from me.10 As to Easter, I’m just hoping. Ever,

Your loving brother

Mr and Mrs Roos and Willem also send you their regards.

I just received your letter, for which I thank you. I’m very pleased with the portrait, it turned out well. If I hear anything more about my trip to Helvoirt I’ll write to you immediately. It would be nice if we could arrive on the same day. Adieu.

Theo, I must again recommend that you start smoking a pipe. It does you a lot of good when you’re out of spirits, as I quite often am nowadays.


Br. 1990: 005 | CL: 5
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: The Hague, Monday, 17 March 1873

1. The directors of Goupil & Co. had decided, after consulting Uncle Vincent van Gogh, to transfer Vincent to the London branch. Mrs van Gogh wrote to Theo: ‘our Vincent, whom Uncle Cent and the other Gentlemen have decided will go to London this summer’ (FR b2597, 1 February 1873).
2. Vincent and Theo were both at their parents’ house in Helvoirt (North Brabant) for Easter (13 April) (FR b2617 and b2618).
3. What is meant are the new editions issued by Goupil & Co., in which Teunis van Iterson tried to interest booksellers, printsellers and art dealers during a sales trip. Van Iterson was an employee of Goupil & Co. in The Hague.
4. Mrs van Gogh reported to Theo: ‘Vincent writes that he finds it strange, always hurrying during the day and then afer 7 p.m. such a quiet evening. Didn’t we write to you about the two parrots at his house, one of whom spoke better English than Vincent himself? I wasn’t sure whether or not he meant the ladies, but Uncle Cent says that having parrots in the drawing room is very common and further inquiry revealed that they were in fact birds’ (FR b2644, 19 July 1873).
5. It is not known which portrait this refers to. Theo had sent the portrait to Anna, via his parents, shortly before 19 February (FR b2604).
6. On 2 March Van Gogh visited the Dutch exhibit going to the ‘Internationale Tentoonstelling te Wenen’ (International Exhibition at Vienna), which was held from 19 February to 2 March 1873 in Arti et Amicitiae. See J.J. Heij, Een vereeniging van ernstige kunstenaars. 150 jaar Maatschappij Arti et Amicitiae 1839-1989. Amsterdam 1989, p. 143. The paintings were exhibited from 1 May to 1 November 1873 in the Dutch pavilion at the World Exhibition in Vienna; the Netherlands was represented by 167 works of art out of a total of 6,600. See Jutta Pemsel, Die Wiener Weltausstellung von 1873. Das gründerzeitliche Wien am Wendepunkt. Vienna and Cologne 1989, p. 67. Cf. also Sweetman 1988, p. 43.
7. The London office of Goupil & Co., 17 Southampton Street, was at first only a stockroom without a shop, an outlet for the wholesale trade of the reproductions published by Goupil. In 1875 the London branch established a gallery open to the public; see letters 27 and 29. Works of art were also sold there, however (letter 15). See also exhib. cat. Nottingham 1974, p. 8.
9. Willem Marinus Valkis was, like Van Gogh, a boarder at W.M. Roos’s.