4 October 1889

My dear Vincent,
I’ve delayed too long in writing to you to tell you that your last consignment arrived in good order. I very much like the wheatfield and the mountains, which are drawn with great expression. There is in the wheatfield that unshakeable side that nature has, even in its wildest  1v:2 aspects. The orchard is very beautiful too.1 Isaäcson, who has lately been writing in a Dutch newspaper, would like to write about your works.2 He’s asked me if he may have certain things at his home, among others the mountains and the wheatfield. When I send you the reproductions of Millet3 I’ll enclose Isaäcson’s articles, I don’t like his researches into new words, but basically he talks of good things, which the majority of art critics do not. Your letter gives me much pleasure, and I thank you very much for it. I can certainly feel that being surrounded by the nuns in moments of  1v:3 great agitation must not have a calming effect on you.4
Dr Peyron came to see me, and he seems well disposed towards you. I like his physiognomy very much. Here’s what he told me. He doesn’t consider you mad at all, and says that the crises you have are of an epileptic nature. For the moment he says that you’re absolutely healthy, and if it weren’t such a short time since you’d had a crisis he would already have encouraged you to go outside the establishment more often. He tells me that as your trip to Arles5 brought on a crisis one would have to see if you can now bear a change before changing residence.  1r:4 If you bear these ordeals well, he sees nothing against your leaving him.
Now I’ve seen Pissarro and I’ve talked to him about the matter. I think that he doesn’t have much to say at home, where his wife wears the trousers. After a few days he told me that it wasn’t possible at his home, but that he knows someone in Auvers, who’s a doctor and does painting in his free moments. He tells me that he’s a man who has been in touch with all the Impressionists.6 He thinks that you could probably stay at his home. He’ll go and see him and speak to him about the matter.7 If you could find something around there, that would be a good thing, for I think that Brittany also has this cloister-like quality, and one feels that a lot even in the latest Gauguins, I find.8 Tomorrow Bernard is to come and see your paintings, and I’ll go to his home to see what he’s brought back.9
All in all I’m happy that you’re better, if your change of residence brought you first to Paris, that would give me great pleasure.
We have good news of Mother and of Wil. Jo is well too, and sends warm regards. Good handshake.



Br. 1990: 808 | CL: T18
From: Theo van Gogh
To: Vincent van Gogh
Date: Paris, Friday, 4 October 1889

1. The ‘wheatfield’, ‘mountains’ and ‘orchard’ are Wheatfield after a storm (F 611 / JH 1723 [2796]), The Alpilles with a hut (F 622 / JH 1766 [2823]) and Orchard (F 511 / JH 1386 [2584]), respectively. See letter 805.
[2796] [2823] [2584]
2. In August-September 1889 Isaäcson wrote a series of articles – in a sensitivist, impressionistic style – titled ‘Paris letters’, for De Portefeuille. Kunst- en Letterbode: ‘Parijsche brieven i. Praatjes en impressies over den 14den Juli’ (Paris letters i. Conversations and impressions of the 14th July) on 3 August 1889, pp. 224-226; ‘Parijsche brieven ii. Gevoelens over de Nederlandsche kunst op de Parijsche Wereld-tentoonstelling’ (Paris letters ii. Feelings about the Dutch art at the Paris World Exhibition) on 10 August 1889, pp. 233-234; ‘Parijsche brieven iii. ‘Gevoelens over de Nederlandsche kunst op de Parijsche Wereld-tentoonstelling. ii’ (Paris letters iii. Feelings about the Dutch art at the Paris World Exhibition. ii), on 17 August 1889, pp. 248-249; ‘Parijsche brieven iv. Op de tentoonstelling’ (Paris letters iv. At the exhibition) on 24 August 1889, pp. 260-261; ‘Parijsche brieven v. Gevoelens over Hollandsche kunst en Fransche poseurkunst. iii’ (Paris letters v. Feelings about Dutch art and French poseur’s art iii) on 31 August 1889, pp. 268-270; ‘Parijsche brieven vi. Gevoelens over Hollandsche kunst op de Parijsche tentoonstelling. iv’ (Paris letters vi. Feelings about Dutch art at the Paris exhibition. iv) on 21 September 1889, pp. 307-309; ‘Parijsche brieven vii. Gevoelens over Hollandsche kunst op de Parijsche tentoonstelling. v’ (Paris letters vii. Feelings about Dutch art at the Paris exhibition. v) on 28 September 1889, pp. 316-317.
[1876] [1888] [1892] [1679]
4. In letter 805 Vincent had written that the religious nature of the asylum at Saint-Rémy was the most important reason for him to move.
5. Shortly before 14 July, Van Gogh had travelled under supervision to Arles to collect paintings he had left behind; see letter 789.
6. Camille Pissarro must have met Theo before 28 September 1889, since he wrote on that date from Paris to his wife Julie: ‘Van Gogh asked me if it would be convenient for us to take his brother with us next spring; the doctors where he is have pronounced that he is cured, that his trouble may come back, however, but in brief attacks. I told Van Gogh that that wasn’t possible for us, that you had a lot of problems with the children, but that I’ll see if we couldn’t find a place where he could live quietly and work; that isn’t easy.’ (Van Gogh m’a demandé si il ne nous conviendrait pas de prendre son frère avec nous au printemps prochain, les médecins où il se trouve ont déclaré qu’il était guéri, que son mal cependant peut revenir, mais par petits accès. J’ai dit à Van Gogh que cela ne nous était pas possible, que tu avais beaucoup de mal avec les enfants, mais que je verrai si nous ne pourrions pas trouver un endroit où il pourrait vivre tranquille et travailler, ce n’est pas facile.) See Correspondance Pissarro 1980-1991, vol. 2, pp. 297-299.
The doctor Theo writes about was Paul-Ferdinand Gachet. He lived in Auvers, about 30 km north-west of Paris. He was acquainted with Pissarro, Cézanne and Guillaumin, among others, and was, moreover, an amateur painter and etcher. A specialist in ‘nervous disorders’, he entertained modern ideas on the subject, advocating homeopathic medicine and using electric shock therapy to treat patients. He had an office in Paris where he treated patients several days a week. See Hulsker 1990-1, p. 418, and exhib. cat. Paris 1999.
a. Read: ‘séjourner’.
7. Pissarro lived in Eragny-par-Gisors (Val-d’Oise)near Pontoise, about 10 km west of Auvers.
8. At the beginning of September, Gauguin had sent Theo several recent canvases from Pont-Aven; see letter 799, n. 10.
9. Bernard had spent the month of August in Saint-Briac in Brittany, but was back in Paris in September. See exhib. cat. Mannheim 1990, p. 98.