My dear Theo,
Enclosed I’m sending you a list of colours I need as soon as possible.
You gave me very great pleasure by sending me those Millets,1 I’m working on them zealously. I was growing flabby by dint of never seeing anything artistic, and this revives me. I’ve finished The evening2 and am working on The diggers3 and the man who’s putting his jacket on,4 no. 30 canvases, and The sower, smaller.5 The evening is in a range of violets and soft lilacs, with light from the lamp pale citron, then the orange glow of the fire and the man in red ochre. You will see it. It seems to me that doing painting after these Millet drawings is much rather to translate them into another language than to copy them. Apart from that I have a rain effect6 on the go, and an evening effect with tall pines.7  1v:2
And also a leaf-fall.8
My health is very good – except often a lot of melancholy however – but I feel much much better than when I came here, and even better than in Paris. Also, as for the work the ideas are becoming firmer, it seems to me. But then I don’t quite know if you’d like what I’m doing now. For despite what you say in your previous letter, that the search for style often harms other qualities,9 the fact is that I feel myself greatly driven to seek style, if you like, but I mean by that a more manly and more deliberate drawing. If that will make me more like Bernard or Gauguin, I can’t do anything about it. But am inclined to believe that in the long run you’d get used to it.  1v:3
For yes, one must feel the wholeness of a country – isn’t that what distinguishes a Cézanne from something else. And Guillaumin, whom you mention, he has so much style and a personal way of drawing. Anyway, I’ll do as I can.
Now that most of the leaves have fallen the landscape looks more like the north, and then I really feel that if I went back to the north I would see it more clearly than before.
Health is a big thing, and a lot depends on it, as regards work too.
Fortunately those abominable nightmares no longer torment me.
I hope to go to Arles in the next few days.
I’d very much like Jo to see The evening, I think that I’ll send you a consignment shortly, but it’s drying very badly because of the dampness of the studio. Here the houses have scarcely any cellar or foundations, and one feels the damp more than in the north.
At home they’ll have moved by now, I’ll add 6 canvases for them to the next consignment.10 Is it necessary to have them framed, perhaps not, for it isn’t worth it. Above all, don’t frame the studies I send you from time to time, that can be done later, pointless for them to take up too much room.  1r:4
I’ve also done a canvas for Mr Peyron, a view of the house with a tall pine tree.11
I hope that your health and Jo’s continue to be good.
I’m so happy that you’re no longer alone, and that everything’s more normal than before.
Is Gauguin back, and what’s Bernard doing?12
More soon, I shake your hand firmly, and Jo’s, and our friends’, and believe me

Ever yours,

I’m trying to simplify the list of colours as much as possible13 – thus I very often use the ochres as in the old days.
I know very well that the studies drawn with long, sinuous lines from the last consignment weren’t what they ought to become, however I dare urge you to believe that in landscapes one will continue to mass things by means of a drawing style that seeks to express the entanglement of the masses. Thus, do you remember Delacroix’s landscape, Jacob’s struggle with the angel?14 And there are others of his! For example the cliffs,15 and the very flowers you speak of sometimes.16 Bernard really has found perfect things in there. Anyway, don’t be too swift to adopt a prejudice against it.
Anyway, you’ll see that there’s already more character in a large landscape with pines, red ochre trunks defined by a black line17 than in the previous ones.18


Br. 1990: 818 | CL: 613
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, on or about Sunday, 3 November 1889

[1876] [1888] [1892] [1679]
2. Evening (after Millet) (F 647 / JH 1834 [2857]), after the print Evening [1682] in the series The four times of the day.
[2857] [1682]
3. Diggers (after Millet) (F 648 / JH 1833 [2856]).
4. The end of the day (after Millet) (F 649 / JH 1835 [2858]), after the print The end of the day in the series The four times of the day.
5. Sower (after Millet) (F 689 / JH 1836 [2859]). The canvas measures 64 x 55 cm (no. 15 canvas), the other three works were no. 30 canvases (72 x 92 cm). The second version, mentioned in letter 850 of 1 February 1890, was F 690 / JH 1837 [2860]. See exhib. cat. Paris 1998, p. 123 and Homburg 1996, pp. 91-92. For another interpretation, see cat. Otterlo 2003, pp. 338-339.
[2859] [2860]
7. This refers to the same painting mentioned in ll. 113-115: The garden of the asylum (F 660 / JH 1849 [2865]). See Hendriks and Van Tilborgh 2001, pp. 155-156.
8. The garden of the asylum (‘Leaf-fall’) (F 651 / JH 1844 [2864]).
9. Theo wrote this in letter 813.
10. Van Gogh had promised his mother and Willemien seven paintings; see letter 811.
11. View of the asylum with a pine tree (F 653 / JH 1840 [2862]). According to De la Faille 1970, the canvas was in the possession of Dr Joseph Peyron (this should be Théophile Peyron).
12. Gauguin had been with De Haan in Le Pouldu since 2 October, and would not return to Paris until 8 February 1890. See Gauguin lettres 1983, p. 137, and letter 852. Bernard was in Paris from September to December 1889. See exhib. cat. Mannheim 1990, pp. 98-99.
13. This refers to the order placed in ll. 1*-3, which is no longer extant.
14. Eugène Delacroix, Jacob wrestling with the angel, 1855-1861, a mural in the Church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris. Ill. 71 [71].
15. It cannot be ascertained which work or works by Delacroix Van Gogh is referring to here. Two paintings are known with the title Cliffs: the panel Cliffs near Fécamp, 1854? (present whereabouts unknown) and the painting Cliffs at Etretat: the Porte d’Aval, 1849? (present whereabouts unknown). See Johnson 1981-1989, vol. 3, pp. 256, 293-294, cat. nos. 488, L210.
16. Theo had written about Delacroix’s flower studies (see letter 781, n. 1).
17. The garden of the asylum (F 660 / JH 1849 [2865]) measures 73 x 92.5 cm. See Hendriks and Van Tilborgh 2001, p. 155.
18. ‘The previous ones’ refer to the ‘studies drawn with long, sinuous lines’ (ll. 100 ff.) from the previous consignment of paintings (regarding this consignment, see letter 806). Vincent is presumably reacting here to Theo’s cautious criticism (voiced in letter 813) of the new canvases, such as Starry night (F 612 / JH 1731 [2801]) and The Alpilles with a hut (F 622 / JH 1766 [2823]). ‘The previous ones’ was previously thought to refer to the paintings Trees in the garden of the asylum (F 642 / JH 1798 [2849]) and Pine trees in the garden of the asylum (F 643 / JH 1799 [2850]), described in letter 810. See Hendriks and Van Tilborgh 2001, p. 155 (n. 84).
[2801] [2823] [2849] [2850]