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037 To Theo van Gogh. Paris, Tuesday, 6 July 1875.

No. 037 (Brieven 1990 037, Complete Letters 30)
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Paris, Tuesday, 6 July 1875

Source status
Original manuscript

Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, inv. no. b39 V/1962

Letter headed: ‘[Paris, le] 6 Juillet [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 6 Juillet [187]5

Waarde Theo,
Dank voor Uw schrijven, ja jongen, ik dacht het wel.─ Gij moet mij eens schrijven hoe het met Uw Engelsch is, hebt gij daar iets aan gedaan?─ Zoo niet dan is dat nog zoo’n groot ongeluk niet.─
Ik heb een kamertje gehuurd te Montmartre waar gij schik in zoudt hebben; ’t is klein maar ziet op een tuintje vol klimop & wilde wingerd uit.1
Ik wil U zeggen welke prenten ik aan den muur heb.

Ruysdael   Le buisson2
do   Blanchisseries3
Rembrandt   Lecture de la bible (eene groote oud Hollandsche kamer, (s’avonds, een kaars op tafel) waar eene jonge moeder bij de wieg van haar kindje den bijbel zit te lezen; eene oude vrouw zit te luisteren,4 ’t is iets dat denken doet: voorwaar ik zeg U5 “waar 2 of 3 te zamen zijn in mijn naam daar ben ik in ’t midden van hen”,6 ’t is eene oude kopergravure, zoo groot als Le buisson, superbe.─)
Ph. de Champaigne   Portrait d’une dame7


Corot   Soir8
do   do9
Bodmer   Fontainebleau10
Bonnington   Une Route11
Troyon   Le matin12
Jules   Dupré Le Soir (la halte)13
Maris   Blanchisseuse14
do   Un bapteme.15
Millet   Les heures de la journée
(gravures sur bois 4fls)16
v.d. Maaten   Enterrement dans les blés17
Daubigny   L’aurore (coq chantant)18
Charlet   L’hospitalité. Ferme entourée de sapins, l’hiver dans la neige. Un paysan & un soldat devant la porte.─19
Ed. Frère   Couturières20
do   Un tonnelier.─21

nu jongen houdt je goed, gij weet het, lang moedig & zacht moedig,22 voor zooveel het mogelijk is. Laat ons maar goede vrienden blijven.─
à Dieu.


[Letterhead: Goupil Paris]

Paris, 6 July 1875

My dear Theo,
Thanks for writing, yes, old boy, I thought so. You must write and tell me sometime how your English is, have you done anything about it? If not, it’s not such a great disaster.
I’ve rented a small room in Montmartre which you’d like; it’s small, but overlooks a little garden full of ivy and Virginia creeper.1
I want to tell you which prints I have on the wall.

Ruisdael   The bush2
ditto   Bleaching fields3
Rembrandt   Reading the Bible (a large, old Dutch room, (in the evening, a candle on the table) in which a young mother sits beside her child’s cradle reading the Bible; an old woman listens,4 it’s something that recalls: Verily I say unto you,5 ‘for where 2 or 3 are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them’,6 it’s an old copper engraving, as large as ‘The bush’, superb).
P. de Champaigne   Portrait of a lady7


Corot   Evening8
ditto   ditto9
Bodmer   Fontainebleau10
Bonington   A road11
Troyon   Morning12
Jules Dupré   Evening (resting place)13
Maris   Washerwoman14
ditto   A baptism15
Millet   The four times of the day
    (woodcuts, 4 prints)16
Van der Maaten   Funeral in the cornfield17
Daubigny   Dawn (cock crowing)18
Charlet   Hospitality. Farmhouse surrounded by fir trees, winter scene with snow. A peasant and a soldier before a door.19
Ed. Frère   Seamstresses20
ditto   A cooper21

Well, old boy, keep well, you know it, longsuffering and meek,22 as much as possible. Let us remain good friends.

1. Van Gogh’s address in Montmartre is not known.
2. Daubigny’s etching after Jacob van Ruisdael's The bush . See letter 35, n. 5.
3. It is not clear which print of the Bleaching fields of Overveen Van Gogh possessed. Ruisdael painted a number of panoramas of Haarlem and its environs (so-called Haarlempjes), such as the View of Haarlem with bleaching grounds (The Hague, Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis). Ill. 1671 .
4. The depiction Van Gogh refers to of the woman reading the Bible was a reproduction of The Holy Family in the evening, end 1630s (nowadays ‘Workshop of Rembrandt’, Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum). Various prints were made after this panel. Because Van Gogh mentions that the depiction was ‘as large as “The bush”’ (which measures 39 x 33 cm), he could have been referring to the etching Effet de nuit dans un intérieur (Nocturnal effect in an interior), 42.5 x 32.5 cm., by Dominique Vivant-Denon, which was exhibited in 1787 (Paris, BNF, Cabinet des Estampes). Ill. 1724 . In 1873 this print was still on offer in the Catalogue des estampes gravées par ... Vivant Denon. See Fizelière 1873, no. 23 and P.J.J. van Thiel, ‘Rembrandts Heilige Familie bij avond’, Bulletin van het Rijksmuseum 13-4 (1965), pp. 145-161, esp. 159. However, the fact that it has a different title – Van Gogh persists in calling the print known to him Lecture de la Bible (Reading the Bible) – makes it uncertain whether Denon’s etching is the one referred to here. The title was well known in the Van Gogh family, as emerges from a letter from Lies to Theo: ‘I do know that print you wrote to me about recently. Isn’t it called Reading the Bible? If that’s the one, I find it very beautiful’ (FR b2364. Tiel, 26 September 1875).
5. Biblical, e.g. Matt. 18:18 (cf. the next note).
6. Matt. 18:20.
7. For De Champaigne's Portrait of a woman , see letter 14, n. 19.
8. Camille Corot made many works with Evening in the title. See the references in Robaut 1965, vol. 5 (Tables), p. 39. Two works depicting this subject have survived from the Van Gogh estate. The first is the lithograph (in reverse) by Auguste-Paul-Charles Anastasi after Pêcheurs tendant leurs filets, le soir (Fishermen casting their nets, evening), 1847, which appeared in Les artistes contemporains (Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, t*1487, 21). Ill. 1672 .
The second is Les plaisirs du soir, (danse antique) (Pleasures of the evening (danse antique)), 1874-1875, a lithograph by Eugène Louis Pirodon, published in L’Illustration 65 (1 May 1875), p. 285 (Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, t*736). Ill. 1673 .
9. See n. 8.
10. Regarding Bodmer’s Fontainebleau , see letter 35, n. 7.
11. The version Van Gogh possessed of Jules Joseph Augustin Laurens’s lithograph Une route (A road), 1851, published in Paris, has survived (Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, t*487-28). Ill. 1674 . It is a lithograph in reverse after Bonington’s canvas A distant view of St-Omer, c. 1824 (London, Tate).
12. The lithograph Effet du matin (Morning effect), made by Louis-François Français after Troyon’s painting Morning (Paris, Musée du Louvre), was published in Les artistes anciens et modernes 1853, no. 68 (Paris, BNF, Cabinet des Estampes). Ill. 1675
13. Most likely a reproduction after Resting place (sunset) by Jules Dupré (present whereabouts unknown), after which work Auguste-Paul-Charles Anastasi made a lithograph titled La halte (soleil couchant) (Resting place (sunset)), that appeared in Les artistes contemporains, vol. 2. Paris (Goupil) 1847, no. 29 (Paris, BNF, Cabinet des Estampes). Ill. 1676 . See Aubrun 1974, p. 61, cat. no. 95.
14. Most likely the lithograph by Frederik Hendrik Weissenbruch Dzn. titled Een achterbuurt (A poor quarter), from the Kunstkronijk, NS, vol. 5 (1864), between p. 58 and 59 (no. 15). Ill. 1677 . This print is after Matthijs Maris, Washing day, 1862-1863 (private collection).
15. Probably a print after Matthijs Maris, Baptismal procession in Lausanne, c. 1860-1862 (The Hague, Kunstmuseum). This large watercolour had won a medal at the exhibition of Belgian watercolourists held in 1863 in Brussels. Ill. 1678 . It is less likely to be a print after the smaller version in sepia of this work (The Hague, Kunstmuseum) or after The baptismal procession, 1873 (Utrecht, Centraal Museum), especially since the latter had been sold early on and was in the United States at the time.
16. The series The four times of the day, consisting of four sheets (the fls in the original letter stands for feuilles), was published as Les quatre heures du jour. Scènes rustiques gravées par Adrien Lavieille, d’après les dessins originaux de J.-F. Millet. Lavieille’s wood engravings, which Van Gogh owned, also appeared in 1873 in L’Illustration. See exhib. cat. Amsterdam 1988, pp. 95-110, cat. nos. 31-38; exhib. cat. Paris 1998, pp. 145-151, cat. nos. 73-79.
Le départ pour les champs (Leaving for the fields) appeared in L’Illustration 61 (19 April 1873), p. 272 (Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, t*137,1). Ill. 1679 . See exhib. cat. Amsterdam 1988, pp. 95-98, cat. nos. 31-32.
La sieste (The siesta) appeared in L’Illustration 62 (26 July 1873), p. 57 (Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, t* 137,2). Ill. 1680 . See exhib. cat. Amsterdam 1988, pp. 99-102, cat. nos. 33-34.
La fin de la journée (The end of the day) appeared in L’Illustration 61 (1 March 1873), p. 156 (Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, t*138-1). Ill. 1681 . See exhib. cat. Amsterdam 1988, pp. 103-106, cat. nos. 35-36.
La veillée (The evening) appeared in L’Illustration 61 (8 March 1873), p. 168. (Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, t*138-2). Ill. 1682 . See exhib. cat. Amsterdam 1988, pp. 107-110, cat. nos. 37-38.
17. For Van der Maaten's, The funeral in the cornfield see letter 36, n. 2.
18. Charles-François Daubigny, L’Aurore, coq chantant (Dawn, cock crowing) was published around 1858 by Delâtre, later Beillet (Paris, BNF, Cabinet des Estampes). Ill. 1683 . It also appeared in Lièvre, Musée Universel 1868-1869.
19. The oeuvre of Nicolas Toussaint Charlet contains at least three works titled L’Hospitalité (Hospitality), but Van Gogh’s description indicates the print published in Alphabet moral et philosophique, à l’usage des petits et des grands enfans [sic] par Charlet 1835. Paris, Gihaut frères. Editeurs, boulevard des Italiens. Appearing below the print is the text: ‘Although he’s not a Scottish highlander, the Frenchman is hospitable’ (Quoiqu’il ne soit pas montagnard écossais, le français est hospitalier) (Paris, BNF, Cabinet des Estampes). Ill. 1684 . Cf. M. de La Combe, Charlet. Sa vie, ses lettres, suivi d’une description raissonée de son oeuvre lithographique. Paris 1856, pp. 338-339, no. 849.
20. The lithograph La couturière by Jean Baptiste Victor Loutrel – after Edouard Frère, The seamstress – has survived in Van Gogh’s own collection (Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, t*642). Ill. 1685 . Van Gogh always used the plural ‘couturières’.
21. ‘A cooper’ by Edouard Frère has not been traced. Because Van Gogh specifies in letter 133 that a ‘workman’ occurs in it, he will not have been referring to The cooper’s family (engraved by George C. Finden), in which only the interior of a cooper’s workshop with three children is to be seen (Bordeaux, Musée Goupil).
22. Cf. Gal. 5:22, Eph. 4:2 and Col. 3:12. Van Gogh often used the words ‘longsuffering’ and ‘meek’ (or ‘meekness’), either singly or in combination (see letters 51 and 89), sometimes even hyphenated (letter 108). In connection with this conscious play on words, see Van Gogh’s remark about the spelling of weemoed in letter 102.