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036 To Theo van Gogh. Paris, Tuesday, 29 June 1875.

No. 036 (Brieven 1990 036, Complete Letters 29)
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Paris, Tuesday, 29 June 1875

Source status
Original manuscript

Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, inv. no. b38 V/1962

Letter headed: ‘[Paris, le] 29 Juin [187]5’.

original text
Goupil & Cie
Editeurs Imprimeurs
Estampes Françaises & Étrangères
Tableaux Modernes
Rue Chaptal, 9, PARIS.
Succursales à la Haye, Londres, Berlin, New-York.

Paris, le 29 Juin [187]5

Waarde Theo,
Ik zou wel willen dat gij uit den Haag van daan waart.1 Zoudt gij daar soms ook naar verlangen? Schrijf mij eens, ja of neen?
Ik blijf voorloopig hier, & zal waarschijnlijk niet vóór den herfst naar Holland gaan.
Gij zult in de eerste kist die naar den Haag gaat een pakje voor Helvoirt vinden. Zend dat s.v.p. op na gezien te hebben wat er in is. Het zijn enkele lith. &c. die ik graag in Pa’s studeerkamer bij “de begrafenis in het koren” van van der Maaten zou zien.2 Het schij van Anker “Un vieux Huguenot”, waarvan de phot. in het bewuste pakje is, heb ik aan Oom Vt, die een paar dagen geleden hier was, verkocht.3 Hij kocht  1r:2 ook een mooi Schij van Jacque, paarden voor den ploeg, in den regen.4
Er is hier eene verkooping geweest van teekeningen van Millet, ik weet niet of ik U er reeds over schreef. Toen ik in de zaal van ’t hôtel Drouot kwam waar zij geëxposeerd waren5 voelde ik zoo iets van: Neem Uw schoenen van uwe voeten, want de plek waar gij staat is heilig land.6 Gij weet Millet te Greville gewoond heeft. Welnu, ik weet niet of het te Greville of te Granville was dat de man waarover ik U reeds sprak, stierf.7 Hoe dit ook zij, ik heb met dubbele aandacht Millet’s teekeningen van Les falaises de Greville bekeken.8 Er is een Schij van hem op ’t Luxembourg gekomen, “L’église de Greville”.9
à Dieu.


[Letterhead: Goupil Paris]

Paris, 29 June 1875

My dear Theo,
I’d rather that you were out of The Hague.1 Don’t you sometimes long for that as well? Write and tell me, yes or no?
I’m staying here for the time being, and will probably not go to Holland before the autumn.
In the first crate going to The Hague you’ll find a package for Helvoirt. Please send it on after looking at what’s inside. There are a few lithographs &c. which I’d like to see in Pa’s study with the ‘Funeral in the cornfield’ by Van der Maaten.2 Anker’s painting of ‘An old Huguenot’, a photo of which is in the package in question, I sold to Uncle Vincent, who was here a couple of days ago.3 He also bought  1r:2 a beautiful painting by Jacque, horses pulling a plough in the rain.4
There was a sale here of drawings by Millet, I don’t know whether I’ve already written to you about it. When I entered the room in Hôtel Drouot where they were exhibited,5 I felt something akin to: Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.6 You know that Millet lived in Gréville. Well, I don’t know whether it was Gréville or Granville where the man I once told you about died.7 At any rate, I looked at Millet’s drawings of ‘The cliffs at Gréville’ with redoubled attention.8 A painting of his, ‘The church of Gréville’, is now in the Luxembourg.9

1. This remark is connected with Theo’s dejection after the death of Annet Haanebeek, with whom he was in love. Mr van Gogh was worried about Theo’s sombre mood and asked himself whether it wasn’t made worse by the sorrowful atmosphere in the Haanebeek household, where Theo spent a lot of time; he therefore advised him to seek the company of others as well (FR b2346). See also Cassee 1997, esp. pp. 111-112.
2. The funeral in the cornfield, which was made into a lithograph titled De laatste kerkgang (Going to church for the last time) by Jacobus Jan van der Maaten himself, was published in Kunstkronijk 3 (1862), NS, no. 20. Ill. 1719 . The picture is also called The harvest. Cf. also letter 128, n. 38.
3. Albert Anker’s painting An old Huguenot, 1875 (private collection) was exhibited at the 1875 Salon and sold on 1 June 1875 for 2,000 francs to Uncle Vincent van Gogh at Princenhage. Reproductions of it were published in various Goupil series, including the ‘Galerie photographique’ and ‘Carte-album’; Un vieux Huguenot (Bordeaux, Musée Goupil). Ill. 1720 . See Kuthy and Bhattacharya-Stettler 1995, p. 129, cat. no. 205.
4. It is not known which painting by Charles Emile Jacque this refers to. It does not occur in the auction catalogue of the paintings in the estate of Uncle Vincent. See auct. cat. The Hague 1889 (Lugt, Répertoire 1938-1987, no. 48116).
5. On 11 and 12 June 1875, a sale exhibition was held in the Paris saleroom Hôtel Drouot of 95 pastels and drawings by Millet from the Emile Gavet Collection (Lugt 1938-1987, no. 35754). See Alexandre Piedagnel, J.-F. Millet. Paris 1888 (Souvenirs de Barbizon), pp. 73-83 and exhib. cat. Amsterdam 1988, pp. 10, 23 (n. 3).
6. Exod. 3:5.
7. The town of Gréville-Hague (the commune of Millet’s birth) is near Cherbourg in the department of Manche (Lower Normandy); Granville is a seaside town in Normandy, near Mont-St Michel. Van Gogh’s mention of ‘the man... died’ most likely alludes to the main character in a short story that begins with the words ‘Il y 25 ans environ, qu’un homme de Granville partit pour Angleterre’ (It was about 25 years ago that a man of Granville left for England), which he had sent to Theo (see RM5).
8. This refers to the two works sold at auction on 11 June: Cliffs at Gréville and The sea seen from the top of the cliff at Gréville. See Piedagnel 1888 (n. 5 above), p. 75, cat. nos. 22 and 23 (Falaise à Gréville and La mer vue du haut de la falaise de Gréville). The first pastel is Cliffs at Gréville, 1870-1871 (Kurashiki, Japan, Ohara Museum of Art). Ill. 1721 . The second is most likely The view from the hills of Landemer, c. 1867-1871 (Reims, Musée des Beaux-Arts). Ill. 1722 . Landemer is near Gréville on the coast of Normandy. See exhib. cat. Paris 1975, pp. 240-241, cat. no. 195.
9. Jean-François Millet, The church at Gréville, 1871-1874 (Paris, Musée d’Orsay). Ill. 1723 . This painting and the Bathers were acquired at the Durand-Ruel sale of 10 and 11 May 1875 by the French state for the Musée du Luxembourg (Lugt 1938-1987, no. 35652). See exhib. cat. Amsterdam 1988, pp. 56-57, cat. no. 15.