1. This was the order placed for canvas in letter 808. Theo’s account book records under ‘Rekening Vincent’ (Account Vincent) in October 1889 a payment of 108 francs to Tasset & Lhote. See Account book 2002, p. 44.
2. Van Gogh had asked for reproductions of Millet’s The two diggers [1876], The sower [1888], Winter: The plain of Chailly [1892] and The four times of the day [1679] [1680] [1681] [1682]. See letter 805, nn. 7-10. It emerges from the following letters that Theo had already sent these prints.
[1876] [1888] [1892] [1679]
3. For Isaäcson’s ‘Parijsche brieven’ (Paris letters), see letter 807, n. 2. Van Gogh is referring to the article ‘Gevoelens over de Nederlandsche kunst op de Parijsche Wereld-tentoonstelling. ii’ (Feelings about the Dutch art at the Paris World Exhibition. ii), which dates from 17 August 1889, pp. 248-249. Theo mentioned the article in a letter sent to his mother and sister in Breda, and Willemien attempted to obtain a copy of the magazine, as emerges from her letter of 13 September 1889 to Theo and Jo (FR b2931).
4. Heinrich Heine’s Reisebilder (1826 and 1831-1834) is a collection of travel accounts characterised by a sometimes ironical or critical tone but also betraying a romantic spirit.
5. Isaäcson wrote: ‘Who interprets for us in forms and colours the formidable life, the grand nineteenth-century life regaining its awareness? Where is the man who again renders our realm, our earth, our heritage; who again makes us happy by demonstrating the divine in matter; who again makes us look at life, the tangible, outpouring, blood-inspired, wild-hunting life, and also that other life that is actually one with ours, that of wood, of stone, of marble, of gold, of tin, zinc, pewter, iron, and also of water, of fire...... where is the inspirator who shows us that?..... I know of one, a single pioneer; he wrestles alone in the grand night; his name, Vincent, is for posterity’. The accompanying note reads: ‘Of this remarkable hero – it is a Dutchman – I hope to be able to tell you something later’ (p. 248).
6. Isaäcson had travelled with De Haan to Paris around 30 August 1888, which is the date De Haan’s name was recorded in the municipal register of Amsterdam as no longer resident there, with a note of Paris as his destination. Isaäcson was back in Amsterdam on 27 November 1889 (FR b1901).
7. For Isaäcson’s plans to go to the Transvaal, see letter 811, n. 2.
8. Van Gogh’s Self-portrait (F 626 / JH 1770 [2826]) later came into the possession of Isaäcson.
9. Diggers (after Millet) (F 648 / JH 1833 [2856]). For the print, The two diggers [1876], see letter 805, n. 7.
[2856] [1876]
10. Van Gogh is referring to the painter Charles Eugène Prévost and the collector Count Armand Doria. The latter amassed in his Chateau d’Orrouy at Crépy-en-Valois (Oise) an extensive collection of art, which was sold in May 1899 at Georges Petit in Paris. The auction catalogue makes no mention of copies by Prévost after Goya and Velázquez. See Collection M. le comte Armand Doria. 2 vols. Paris 1899.
11. Ward in the hospital (F 646 / JH 1686 [2782]).
12. Theo had praised Guillaumin’s work in letter 813.
13. It is possible that Van Gogh wrote ‘l’écrire’ instead of ‘t’écrire’.
14. Theo had sent Vincent a photograph of Millet’s drawing The first steps (Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, t*51). Ill. 286 [286]. In January 1890 Van Gogh made a painting after it, The first steps (after Millet) (F 668 / JH 1883 [2886]). The photograph displays the grid lines applied by Van Gogh to guide him in transferring the representation to the canvas.
[286] [2886]