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525 To Cornelis Marinus van Gogh. Nuenen, Thursday, 6 or Friday, 7 August 1885.

No. 525 (Brieven 1990 193, Complete Letters 165a)
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Cornelis Marinus van Gogh
Date: Nuenen, Thursday, 6 or Friday, 7 August 1885

Source status
Original manuscript

Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, inv. no. b186 V/1962

In De brieven 1990 the letter is dated ‘1881-1883’, but this appears to be wrong. During Theo’s visit to Nuenen, he and Vincent had decided to take new initiatives to draw Vincent’s work to the attention of art dealers (cf. also letters 523 and 527). We think that having Theo show work to Uncle Cor (ll. 12-16) must be seen in this light. The letter must have been given to Theo to deliver, when he left on 7 August 1885 after a stay in Nuenen to travel to Amsterdam to stay with the Bonger family.
Vincent has not previously characterized the colours he uses as ‘cold’ or ‘warm’, something that suggests he was studying Félix Bracquemond’s Du dessin et de la couleur, which Theo must have given him (see letter 530, n. 5 and letter 531). This supports a dating to the summer of 1885, after Theo’s arrival.
Because we cannot say with certainty at what point (preceding Theo’s departure for Amsterdam) Vincent wrote the letter, we suggest a date of Thursday, 6 or Friday, 7 August 1885.

original text
Waarde Oom,
Theo naar U toegaande1 en ik een verzoek aan U hebbende, maak ik van deze gelegenheid gebruik U ’t volgende te vragen. Of U me wilt toestaan Uwe schilderijen eens te komen zien – ik heb in lang geen schilderijen gezien en heb er zulk een verlangen naar dat ik over alles heenstap om U dit te vragen.–2
Theo heeft twee kleine studies van me bij zich – de kleur van beiden is kouder dan ik goed vind. Twee anderen heb ik in ’t zelfde formaat die warmer zijn.3
Indien U welligt oude cannelure lijstena mogt hebben die U niet direct gebruikt zou een ruil van eene van deze 4 studies tegen een lijstje mij aangenaam zijn.–

Uw dr

My dear Uncle,
Since Theo is coming to see you1 and I have a request to make of you, I’m taking this opportunity to ask you the following. If you would permit me to come and see your paintings I haven’t seen any paintings for a long time, and long so much to see some that I’m overlooking everything to ask this of you.2
Theo has two small studies of mine with him – the colour of both is colder than I should like. I have two others of the same size that are warmer.3
If you perhaps have any old grooved frames that you don’t have an immediate use for, I should like very much to trade one of these 4 studies for a frame.

Your servant
1. On Friday, 7 August 1885 Theo travelled from Nuenen to Amsterdam, one reason for his trip being a visit to the Rijksmuseum, which had opened in July. He stayed with the family of Andries Bonger (FR b889). Cf. also Date.
2. Vincent and Uncle Cor had last met at the end of March, in the days after Mr van Gogh’s death, at which time Uncle Cor had visited Vincent’s studio (see letter 489). Their relations were still strained, however.
3. This suggests that Theo had several of the small studies of huts with him, which Vincent had mentioned in letter 513: several of those huts were painted ‘much brighter’ (see n. 1 to that letter). It seems as though Vincent preferred the darker versions but Theo thought it better to show the brighter ones.
The contrast of ‘cold’ and ‘warm’ colours was no doubt prompted by his reading of Félix Bracquemond’s Du dessin et de la couleur (see also letters 530 and 531).
a. Frames with vertical grooves.