My dear Theo,
I’ve just received your letter containing 100 francs, I really thank you for it — and for the previous one (also dated Brussels) containing 50 francs.1 This to tell you that I received them safely. But there should be at least 2 letters that I wrote to you in Paris2 and a roll of drawings, which, as you thought, Koning won’t have sent you. Koning sent me a postcard saying he’d received a note from the Independents, saying that if the paintings weren’t collected between April 5 and 6 they’d be put somewhere else, in storage.3 He just had to pick them up, if it was between May 5 and 6 that he meant. It’s likely that this excellent young man has somewhat lost his wits in your absence.
I’m pleased to hear you’ve sold a Degas and what you write about the purchaser.4 Meunier — I’ve also seen some very fine things by him myself — and by Henri de Braekeleer too, of course. The chap who came to Paris on behalf of Les Vingt, you know, Los Rios de Guadalquivir or an even more sonorous name than that,5 made out that De Braekeleer was reduced to helplessness by a brain disease that had completely stupefied him.6  1v:2
I like to think it’s not true. Have you heard about it?
You’ll see from the letters in question that I’ve rented a studio, a whole house with 4 rooms (180 francs per year). Now it’s a matter of going there to sleep, today I’ll buy a mat and a mattress and blanket.
I also have 40 francs to pay at the hotel,7 so I won’t have much left over. But then I’ll be free of this guest-house where you pay too much and where I wasn’t happy. And I’ll begin to have a home of my own. You’ll find details in the letters I’ve already written to you.
The mistral’s been blowing hard here, so I’ve done a dozen small drawings which I’ve sent you.8
The weather’s splendid now, I’ve done another two large drawings and 5 small ones.9
I’ve found a crate for my consignment, which will go off tomorrow, I hope.  1v:3
I’ll send you those 5 small drawings today, to Brussels.
You’ll see beautiful things at Claude Monet’s.10 And you’ll think what I send you is pretty poor, in comparison. At present I’m unhappy with myself and unhappy with what I’m doing, but I can glimpse some possibility of doing better in future.
And I hope that later on, other artists will emerge in this beautiful part of the country. To do here what the Japanese have done in their country. And working at that isn’t so bad.
I often took walks with Rappard in the place you mention. Is the suburb and the countryside beyond the Colonne du Congrès called Schaarbeek?11 I recall a place called, I think, La Vallée de Josaphat, where there are poplars and where Hippolyte Boulenger, the landscape artist, did some fine things.12 I remember sunsets in the Botanical Garden, seen from the boulevard that runs alongside it.  1r:4
In the crate I’m sending you you’ll find some reeds for Koning.
And the address from now on will be

place Lamartine 2

I hope — and I have no doubts — that when you get back to Paris it will finally be spring. And not before time, for Heaven’s sake.
Living at the hotel you never make progress, and now at the end of a year I’ll have furniture &c. that will belong to me, and while that wouldn’t be worthwhile if I was in the south for only a few months, it’s quite another matter once it’s a question of a long stay.
And I have no doubts that I’ll always love nature here, it’s something like Japanese art, once you love that you don’t have second thoughts about it.

Ever yours,


Br. 1990: 607 | CL: 483
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Arles, Monday, 7 May 1888

1. Van Gogh confirmed receipt of Theo’s letter and the money in letter 602.
2. These were letters 602, 603 and 604, the latter two of which may have been sent together.
3. See for the exhibited works: letter 582, n. 9.
4. We do not know which of Degas’s works Theo sold in Brussels, nor who the buyer was.
5. See for the society of artists Les Vingt: letter 580, n. 6. Van Gogh meant the Spanish artist Dario de Regoyos (y Valdés), who was one of the founders of Les Vingt and showed at the society’s annual exhibitions. See Delevoy 1981, and exhib. cat. Brussels 1993.
6. See for De Braekeleer’s illness: letter 604, n. 15.
7. Van Gogh was staying at Hotel-Restaurant Carrel; see letter 577, n. 4.
8. See for this first shipment of drawings from Arles: letter 602, n. 1.
9. In view of their size, 43 x 55 cm and 39 x 61 cm respectively, View of Arles with irises in the foreground (F 1416r / JH 1415 [3056]) and Bank of the Rhône at Arles (F 1472a / JH 1497a [3057]) are the most likely candidates; cf. also the inscription at lower left on both drawings.
It is not possible to say for certain which small drawings were in the respective consignments. Altogether we know of 18 sheets measuring approx. 25 x 35 cm and dating from this period. See letter 602, n. 1.
[3056] [3057]
10. Monet, who had worked in Antibes in the spring, had been back in Giverny since 6 May. See Wildenstein and Walter 1974-1991, vol. 3, p. 9. Theo mounted a small exhibition of Monets (see letter 625, n. 5). His visit to Monet must have taken place in May, given that the exhibition opened at the beginning of June. See exhib. cat. Amsterdam 1999, pp. 111, 187.
11. The ‘Colonne de la Constitution’ (or ‘Colonne du Congrès’) erected in 1859 on the place du Congrès on rue Royale, which in turn opens into the said boulevard du Jardin Botanique.
12. See for ‘La Vallée de Josaphat’ in Schaarbeek: letter 293, n. 11 and for The Josaphat brook in Schaarbeek [623] by Boulenger: 433, n. 3.