[Letterhead: Goupil Paris]

Paris, 2 Sept. 1875

My dear Theo,
This morning I heard from Pa and from you the news of Uncle Jan’s death.1 Such things make us say, ‘O Lord, join us intimately to one another and let our love for Thee make that bond ever stronger’2 and ‘Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man’.3
In the first crate of paintings going to Holland you’ll find a few lithographs and that engraving after Rembrandt.4 The two lithographs after Bonington will no doubt be to your liking. At the same time I’m sending a couple of photos for Pa of pictures by Jules Breton and Corot; I’ll write ‘for Helvoirt’ on the back.
I’ve never heard of the painter Pynas you write about; I’m eager to see the painting in question.5 Nor do I know that lithograph after Diaz, ‘A monk’.6  1r:2
Last Sunday I was in the Louvre (on Sunday I often go either there or to the Luxembourg); I wish you could see the Van Ostade, his own family, himself, his wife and, I believe, 8 children, all in black, the wife and girls with white caps and neckerchiefs in a stately old Dutch room with a large fireplace, oak wainscoting and ceiling and whitewashed walls with paintings in black frames. In the corner of the room a large bed with blue curtains and blanket.7 Rembrandt’s ‘Supper at Emmaus’, of which I wrote,8 has been engraved,9 Messrs G&Co. will publish the engraving in the autumn. Do you ever visit Borchers? It seems to me that his mother is a distinguished lady.10 Go out often, if you can, I mean of course to visit Caroline van Stockum, the Carbentuses, Haanebeeks, Borchers &c.; not to Kraft’s11 or Marda’s,12 you understand! Or it would have to be because you couldn’t do otherwise, just once or twice can do no harm.
How are things at the gallery? I know all about how it can be sometimes, but anyway, do whatever your hand finds to do.13
And I wish you the very best, and write again soon. Ever,

Your loving brother

Herewith a note for Borchers. Regards to everyone at the Rooses’ and to all who ask after me. B.14 tells me that Weehuizen died,15 I didn’t know, were you there?


Br. 1990: 042 | CL: 35
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Paris, Thursday, 2 September 1875

1. Jan Carbentus, a brother of Mrs van Gogh, had died on 30 August in Haarlem (FR b2357).
2. A prayer written and often recited in the family circle by Mr van Gogh; see letter 113. Van Gogh quoted this text a number of times: see letters 89, 92, 98, 102, 103, 104, 114 and 411.
4. Reading the Bible [1724], which he promised to send in letter 40.
5. Theo had probably seen the panel, acquired in 1874 by the Mauritshuis in The Hague, of Christ on the Cross (Mary and John at the Cross) by Jan Symonsz. Pynas; it was exhibited in 1875 (now Amsterdam, Rembrandthuis). Ill. 1732 [1732]. See Musée Royal de la Haye (Mauritshuis). Catalogue raisonné des tableaux et des sculptures. The Hague 1895, pp. 297-298, cat. no. 131 (265) and cat. The Hague 1993, p. 117, inv. no. 131.
6. The lithograph Le moine (The monk) by Jules Joseph Augustin Laurens was made after Narcisse Virgile Diaz’s sketch The monk, also called Claude Frollo and Esmeralda (Montpellier, Musée Fabre). The depiction is based on Victor Hugo, Notre-Dame de Paris, book 8, chapter 4 ‘Lasciate ogni speranza’. Laurens’s lithograph is part of the collection ‘Galerie Bruyas’ (no. 11). (Paris, BNF, Cabinet des Estampes). Ill. 1733 [1733]. Cf. Marilyn Ruth Brown, The image of the ‘bohémien’ from Diaz to Manet and Van Gogh. Diss. Yale University 1978, pp. 280-281.
[67] [1733]
7. Adriaen van Ostade, Family portrait, formerly known as The painter’s family, 1654 (Paris, Musée du Louvre). Ill. 1734 [1734].
8. Regarding The pilgrims at Emmaus [1710] by Rembrandt, see letter 34.
9. Rembrandt, Les pélerins d’Emmaüs (The pilgrims at Emmaus), engraving from 1875 by Amadée and Eugène Varin (Bordeaux, Musée Goupil). Ill. 1735 [1735]. Below the engraving appears the text in French of Luke 24:30-31.
10. Egbert Rubertus Borchers had registered as a resident of The Hague on 8 June 1872, declaring himself to be a civil servant and giving his former city of residence as Amsterdam. In The Hague he first lived at Lange Beestenmarkt 32, later, among other places, at Van Limburg Stirumstraat 81, Trompstraat 120 and Jacob van der Doesstraat 57 (later no. 62); the dates of these moves are not recorded. Borcher’s mother, Haika Borchers-Middel, and his sister, Boukje, were registered as living with him at Jacob van der Doesstraat 57 (GAH).
11. Van Gogh was probably referring to the establishment of the publican Johannes Willem Frederik Kraft at (Kleine) Bagijnestraat 3 (GAH, Adresboeken 1881-1882). In the nineteenth century, Bagijnestraat had a somewhat suspect reputation, being referred to in popular parlance as ‘Bagijnejacht’ or the ‘Jacht’ (the hunt), which might explain Vincent’s word of caution. In the nineteenth century, a visit to a prostitute was considered therapeutic in cases of melancholy; see Mathijsen 2002, p. 62 and cf. Nop Maas, Seks!... in de negentiende eeuw. Nijmegen 2006, p. 89.
12. Jeanette Geertruida Marda ran a tobacconist’s shop at Kneuterdijk 3 (GAH, Adresboeken 1871-1874).
15. The public servant Johannes Wilhelmus Weehuizen, with whom Theo had previously been in contact, had died on 4 March 1875 in The Hague.