[Letterhead: Goupil and Boussod Paris]

23 Oct. 1888

My dear Vincent,
It pains me to learn that you’re not well. You must have worked too much and that way forgotten to take care of your body as one should. I’m glad that your letter1 came today and no later, because I would soon have left for Brussels,2 and you’d have had to wait another two days, at least. What a financier  1r:2 you are! What distresses me is that even so, you’re still in poverty, because you can’t stop yourself doing things for others. I’d be very glad to see you more selfish until you’re on an even keel. You understand that père Thomas has sent me packing; it should have been you — who took the initiative, and even then. Now let’s try to get ourselves out of it anyway; others will come looking for us of their own accord. What will please you is that I’ve sold Gauguin’s large painting, the Breton women,3 which had been deposited with Diot.4 I’m sending him 500 francs for it and so he’ll be solvent for the moment, but will he come to join you? This  1v:3 week De Haan is coming to live with me, which I’m delighted about, because it’s likely that some time from now it will be he who will form the nucleus of the group of young people here.5 In your previous letter you seem to believe that these people have the edge in questions of art in the manner of the Dutch,6 but it’s my fault if you had this impression. When I told you that they knew how to analyze a painting by taking account of the sentiment, technique, etc., I didn’t want to go so far as to say that they separate these qualities, but rather I wanted to tell you the unusual clarity of mind that they have in not confusing things. Isaäcson, especially, strikes me as a real scholar. They’ve received paintings and studies made in Holland; very good, but a bit dark. They  1v:4 intend to stay in Paris for the winter and to leave for the country as soon as the weather’s good enough for working outside.
I expect to be back from Brussels on Friday or Saturday, and I’ll write to you shortly at greater leisure. I hope that what’s wrong with you isn’t serious and that you won’t lose heart, even if Gauguin didn’t come.



Br. 1990: 716 | CL: T2
From: Theo van Gogh
To: Vincent van Gogh
Date: Paris, Tuesday, 23 October 1888

1. This was letter 709, in which Vincent told Theo about his exhaustion and asked for extra money because of Gauguin’s impending arrival (in his last letter (710) he did not write about his health, so this cannot be the one meant here).
2. Theo probably made this trip specifically to reconnoitre the market for modern paintings in Brussels. Gauguin wrote to him on 27 October 1888: ‘I hope that your little journey has been useful as regards the cause which you have so nobly undertaken’ (J’espère que votre petit voyage a été bon pour la cause que vous avez si noblement entreprise). See Correspondance Gauguin 1984, p. 266.
3. Paul Gauguin, Breton women chatting, 1886 (W 237/ W 201) (Munich, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Neue Pinakothek). Ill. 117 [117]. Theo had sold the work to Dupuis for 600 francs the day before. See Wildenstein 2001, p. 303 and Correspondance Gauguin 1984, p. 512.
4. At this time the art dealer Aimé François Désiré Diot had his gallery at 43 rue Laffitte. See exhib. cat. Paris 1988, p. 356.
a. Read: ‘habiter chez moi’.
5. De Haan moved in with Theo on 28 October (see letter 713). Theo wrote to Willemien on 6 December 1888 that Isaäcson was also spending every evening with them. ‘They are both very smart fellows as far as their brains are concerned, so that it’s interesting company. Because De Haan is delicate he stays home almost all the time, which means that rather more people come to us and we have a very agreeable time’ (FR b916). De Haan went to Pont-Aven in the first half of April 1889 (FR b1040); his departure was prompted by Theo’s impending move. See Brief happiness 1999, p. 130.
6. Probably a reference to what Vincent had written in letter 707: ‘It’s precisely a failing of the Dutch to call one thing absolutely good and another absolutely bad, when it’s nowhere near as inflexible as that’.