16 July 1889.

My dear Vincent,
I was absolutely incapable of writing to you earlier, the heat was overwhelming, and I felt so weak that everything tired me out extremely. Now I’m more or less recovered, for good I hope. I thank you very much for your letters and for the beautiful drawings you sent.1 The Hospital at Arles2 is very remarkable, the Butterfly3 and  1v:2 the Eglantine branches4 are really beautiful too: simple in terms of colour and really beautifully drawn. The latest drawings look like they’ve been done in a fury and are a little more distanced from nature. When I see one of these subjects in a painting I’ll understand them more.5 I’ve had several people to see your paintings. The Pissarros,6 père Tanguy, Werenskiold, a Norwegian who has a lot of talent and who got the medal of honour in his country’s section at the World Exhibition,7 and Maus. The latter is the secretary of the Vingt in Brussels. He came to ask if you would exhibit at their next exhibition.8 There’s still time, but he didn’t know if he’d be coming to Paris beforehand. I told him that I thought you  1v:3 wouldn’t have anything against it. He’ll probably invite Bernard as well. People generally like the Night effect9 and the Sunflowers.10 I’ve put one of the Sunflowers on the mantelpiece in our dining room. It has the effect of a piece of fabric embroidered with satin and gold, it’s magnificent.11
As from the 15th of this month I no longer have the rue Lepic apartment, and as it was absolutely impossible to store all the canvases at our place, I’ve rented a small room in père Tanguy’s house where I’ve put quite a few of them.12 I’ve made a choice of those which are to be taken off the stretching frames and then we’ll put others on them. Père Tanguy has already given me a lot of help, and it’s going to be very easy to let him continually have new things to show. You can imagine how enthusiastic he is about coloured things like the Vineyards,13 the Night effect, etc. I’d very much like you to be able to hear him sometime. I also forgot to say that De Haan has been here, he sent Jo a monster bouquet of poppies of all colours, never  1r:4 had I seen such a beautiful bouquet, and the rain of multicoloured leaves when they were beginning to drop their petals. He very much likes what you’re doing. He’s now with Gauguin.14 Isaäcson is all at sea now that De Haan is no longer there. I don’t know what he ought to do, but what he’s painting is poor! He talks about art better than he does it.15
Gauguin is writing in a newspaper, which I’m sending you.16 He wrote to me last week and asked me to give him your address, which he’d lost. De Haan was saying that Gauguin has done some very fine things. You were unlucky when you went to Arles not to find Mr Salles, or Rey either. I’ve had a letter from the former.17 He’s at a little seaside place. Before receiving your letter in which you say to send him the Pilgrims at Emmaus18 I’d sent him the Angelus, lithograph by Vernier.19 I regret not having thought of the other subject, for it would have been rather more to his taste.
You can imagine how the news that Jo is pregnant excited her parents.20 Her father and mother are going to come here next week. Ma is also very pleased. It’s very true what you  2r:5 say, that her letter’s remarkable for her age.21 Yes, certainly it’s good that I’ve got married, for if it hadn’t been done I think I would be really ill now, while I think that now I’m going to regain strength and that I’ll be able to work a little better than I have done. Jo is really good to me, and yet she’s had some really bad days with vomiting etc., now it seems to be calming down and she looks well. If only the child is viable. I think that children generally inherit  2v:6 their parents’ kind of constitution rather than the latter’s state of health at the moment when they made it.
Andries Bonger would very much like to have a child, but it doesn’t come. His wife has a very difficult nature,22 and they have a lot of trouble getting by on the money he earns. Their household is far from cheerful. Yet his wife isn’t just anybody, but they can’t manage to see eye to eye. We don’t see them often, as they live very far from our place.23 I’ll finish my letter in haste. Enclosed is a postal order, for as you didn’t find Mr Salles you may need something.24 Warm regards, from Jo as well, and thank you very much again for your kind letters and the drawings.



Br. 1990: 793 | CL: T12
From: Theo van Gogh
To: Vincent van Gogh
Date: Paris, Tuesday, 16 July 1889

1. Vincent had sent six drawings around 18 June (see letter 782), and on 2 July another eleven (see letter 784).
2. The courtyard of the hospital (F 1467 / JH 1688 [2784]).
3. Giant peacock moth (F 1523 / JH 1700 [2793]).
4. Theo must mean the drawing of periwinkle: F 1614 / JH 2060 [2935]. See cat. Amsterdam 2007, p. 191.
5. Theo is referring to the second consignment, which consisted of drawings after paintings Vincent was working on. See letter 784, n. 16.
7. At the 1889 World Exhibition in Paris, the Norwegian painter Erik Theodor Werenskiold was represented by the works Deux frères (Two brothers), Grande mère (Grandmother), Paysage (Landscape) and Enterrement à la campagne (Burial in the country). He received the ‘Grand Prix’ for the last painting, Peasant burial, 1885 (Oslo, Nasjonalgalleriet). Ill. 1421 [1421]. See exhib. cat. Paris 1889-3, cat. nos. 120-123, and Marit Werenskiold, ‘Erik Werenskiold in Munich 1875-1881’, Konsthistorisk Tidskrift 68-2, 1999, pp. 81-95, esp. p. 81.
[855] [857] [1421]
8. Regarding the artists’ society Les Vingt, see letter 580, n. 6. The seventh exhibition of Les Vingt was held in Brussels from 18 January to 23 February 1890. Works by the 19 members of the society were augmented by the work of 18 other ‘invited artists’: Eugène Boch, Paul Cézanne, Alexandre-Louis-Marie Charpentier, Albert Dubois-Pillet, Louis Hayet, Xavier Mellery, George Minne, Lucien Pissarro, Odilon Redon, Auguste Renoir, Louis Oscar Roty, Giovanni Segantini, Paul Signac, Alfred Sisley, Charles Storm van 's Gravesande, William Thornley, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Vincent van Gogh. See Delevoy 1981, pp. 197 ff.
Van Gogh exhibited six works: ‘Tournesols’ (Sunflowers in a vase (F 454 / JH 1562 [2704]) and Sunflowers in a vase (F 456 / JH 1561 [2703])), ‘le lierre’ (Trees with ivy in the garden of the asylum (F 609 / JH 1693 [2789])), ‘verger en fleurs (Arles)’ (Orchard in blossom with a view of Arles (F 516 / JH 1685 [2781])), ‘champ de blé; soleil levant (Saint-Rémy)’ (Wheatfield at sunrise (F 737 / JH 1862 [2874])) and ‘la vigne rouge (Mont-Major)’ (The red vineyard (F 495 / JH 1626 [2745])). See Delevoy 1981, p. 216 and letter 820 (Van Gogh’s list of the works to be exhibited).
[2704] [2703] [2789] [2781] [2874] [2745]
9. Starry night over the Rhône (F 474 / JH 1592 [2723]).
10. Theo probably means Sunflowers in a vase (F 454 / JH 1562 [2704]) and Sunflowers in a vase (F 456 / JH 1561 [2703]), which Vincent found suitable to exhibit (see, for example, letter 741).
[2704] [2703]
11. The version of the sunflowers that hung above the fireplace at Theo and Jo’s (and later on, in Jo’s house), was probably F 454 / JH 1562 [2704]. Jo did not lend this version out to exhibitions until 1901. See Van Tilborgh and Hendriks 2001, pp. 26-27.
12. To rent this little room, Theo paid Tanguy 30 francs on 15 October 1889, 4 February 1890 and 27 April 1890 (Account book 2002, pp. 63, 69).
13. The green vineyard (F 475 / JH 1595 [2726]) and The red vineyard (F 495 / JH 1626 [2745]).
[2726] [2745]
14. For De Haan and Gauguin’s stay in Brittany, see letter 774, nn. 15 and 16.
15. Isaäcson published art reviews in the Dutch journal De Portefeuille. See letter 807, n. 2.
16. Paul Gauguin, ‘Notes sur l’art à L’Exposition Universelle’, appeared in two parts in Le Moderniste Illustré: on 4 July 1889 (no. 11), pp. 84, 86 and on 13 July 1889 (no. 12), pp. 90-91. In the first part, Gauguin voiced fierce criticism of the organization of the World Exhibition, which allowed only established academic artists to display their work and refused to give independent, innovative artists their own exhibition space. In the second part of his article he discusses the statues and ceramics on display; in a footnote the editor (or Gauguin himself?) expresses his surprise at the fact that Gauguin’s ceramics, which were earlier exhibited at Theo van Gogh’s, were not to be seen at the exhibition.
17. This letter from Salles to Theo is not known.
18. Vincent wrote this in letter 783.
19. For the lithograph by Vernier after Millet’s Angelus [2291], see letter 785, n. 9. Theo paid 36.15 francs for this lithograph on 29 June 1889. See Account book 2002, p. 56.
21. Vincent said this about the letter he received from their mother, who was nearly 70; Vincent had forwarded this letter to Theo (see letter 784).
a. The word ‘bien’ (here ‘que bien’ is rendered as ‘rather than’) is unusual in this place; it is possible that its use was prompted by the Dutch ‘dan wel’.
22. Andries Bonger was married to Annie van der Linden. Jo and the rest of the Bonger family did not get along very well with her, and even Andries did not seem very happy with her. As early as 12 September 1888, he wrote to Jo in a bitter tone: ‘She is hopelessly apathetic. Sometimes I think she spent years lying on top of a marble tomb. Sadly, we do not seem to cheer each other up’ (See FR b1033; Brief happiness 1999, pp. 21, 23).
23. Andries and Annie lived at 127 rue du Ranelagh in Passy, on the west side of Paris.
24. In letter 787 Vincent had written that he would be receiving money from Salles.