Paris 22 Dec. 1889

My dear Vincent,
I’ve safely received your consignment of the Wheatfield1 and the two Bedrooms.2 Above all I like the last one,3 which in terms of colour is like a bouquet of flowers. It has a very great intensity of colour. The Wheatfield perhaps has more poetry; it’s like a memory of something one has seen. Tanguy is mounting it at the moment, and on 3 January everything is leaving for Brussels. Now I have something  1v:2 that gave me great pleasure. I was visited at home by Mr Lauzet, Monticelli’s lithographer.4 He came to see ours,5 and considers them very fine. As regards the flowers,6 he doesn’t think he can render them, as the prints are monochrome and he doesn’t think he can render the feeling of this painting in one colour. He’s starting with the Italian woman.7 But what pleased him above all was your canvases and your drawings, oh but he understands them. He’s been seeing them for a long time at Tanguy’s, and he was really pleased to see all that I had here, while going through the drawings there was a woman picking up apples8 that he liked, and I made him a present of it, for I think you’d have done the same. He  1v:3 came back to the shop the next day to ask me if there wouldn’t be some way of having another drawing you did right at the beginning when you were at St-Rémy. On the left a little thicket of dark trees against a sky with a crescent moon, on the right a gate.9 He told me that he couldn’t get this drawing out of his mind, that it was finer than the drawings of V. Hugo, which he likes a great deal etc. I suggested that he exchange it for a copy of his Monticelli album, which he accepted immediately. The album is still far from being ready but he will finish it, Cottier and Reid have put their names down for several copies so he’s covered for the printing costs. There are 16 lithographs ready out of 25 he wants to do.  1r:4
What I consider the most successful thing is the head of a child we saw once at La Roquette’s.10 The artist seems very sympathetic to me. He’s from the south and has something of the Spaniard about him, pale face and black beard, but at the same time something gentle like an English poet. It’s a great pity he hasn’t done any prints in several colours, for one doesn’t realize the strength of the colour that Monticelli was one of the first to employ by using an opposition to obtain power while remaining harmonious. The prints that I’ve seen resemble etchings on stone like Marvy did.11
You say that you sometimes think that you would have done better by remaining a dealer, but don’t say that. Look at Gauguin for example, I do like his talent and I’m well aware12 of what he wants, but I haven’t managed to sell anything  2r:5 whatsoever of his, and yet I have all kinds of things by him. The public is most rebellious towards things that aren’t done in perfect order. And it’s evident that Gauguin, who is half Inca, half European, superstitious like the former and advanced in ideas like certain of the latter, can’t work every day in the same way. It’s most unfortunate that we can’t find something he can live from. These latest paintings are less saleable than last year’s.13 He wrote to me last week that one of his children fell out of a window and was picked up almost dead. There is hope, though, of saving it.14 He’d do anything to obtain a little money, but I can’t procure any for him.  2v:6
Pissarro, too, is at bay. He works like a negro. He made a very pretty fan for Jo. Women chatting in the fields with a rainbow in the background,15 up to now he hasn’t yet seen this gentleman from Auvers,16 at least he writes nothing about the subject, the best thing will be for you to come to us in the spring and go yourself to see if you can find lodgings that suit you in the country. We must in any case be pleased that you’re much better than you were this time last year. Then I feared that you might not recover.
We’re expecting Wil on 2 Jan., she’ll stay a month with us. I share your opinion that I’d be delighted if she could see her way to marrying, and the man who had her would find a charming wife in her.  2v:7
Cor writes quite often from the Transvaal.17 Life down there can’t be much fun. There are no plants or flowers. If the heat isn’t torrid, it rains so much that everything is flooded. The days are all absolutely alike, which is why he says he detests Sundays and other time off. You know that Isaäcson was to go there too, but as his friends in Amsterdam are very kind to him, and I think that as long as they support him he’ll stay there and will be able to occupy himself over there.18 The Transvaal isn’t to be recommended, from what one can gather. Here the weather is abominable, cold and grey; almost everybody is ill. How are you? Is it  2r:8 as cold down there as in Arles? I’m curious to see your Olive trees.19 They can be beautiful. The Sunflowers20 were on show at Tanguy’s this week and made a very good effect. Your paintings cheer up Tanguy’s shop, and père Tanguy likes them a lot, but he sells as few by others as by you. I very much like the two drawings you sent.21 Do you want me to send some to Brussels? Reply immediately on this subject, for there’s no time to lose for the framing. Jo sends her warm regards, she’s very well, relatively speaking.22 I hope that you’ll do the little one’s portrait this spring. I shake your hand firmly, and hope that you’ll have a good end to the year.


I received your postcard, the paintings will be ready in time.23


Br. 1990: 833 | CL: T22
From: Theo van Gogh
To: Vincent van Gogh
Date: Paris, Sunday, 22 December 1889

1. Wheatfield at sunrise (F 737 / JH 1862 [2874]).
2. The bedroom (F 482 / JH 1608 [2735]) and The bedroom (F 484 / JH 1771 [3007]).
[2735] [3007]
3. In mentioning ‘the last one’, Theo is referring to the repetition of the bedroom: The bedroom (F 484 / JH 1771 [3007]).
4. Lauzet was working on the edition of lithographs Adolphe Monticelli; see letter 825, n. 7.
5. Vincent and Theo owned five works by Monticelli; see letter 578, n. 5.
7. Adolphe Monticelli, Italian girl, c. 1879 (Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum). Ill. 2302 [2302].
8. There is no known drawing depicting a woman picking up apples. Theo is presumably referring to ‘ramasseuse de pommes de terre’, in which case this might refer to Woman lifting potatoes (F 1272 / JH 910). However, the early provenance of this work is unknown.
9. There is no known drawing that fits this description.
a. Read: ‘tout de suite’.
10. Theo means Auguste Marie Lauzet’s lithograph Head of a child, no. 17 in the publication Adolphe Monticelli. The painting which served as the model for the print has not been traced; the caption says that at the time the print after it was made, the painting was in the possession of Mr Bagnard. Ill. 2303 [2303].
‘La Roquette’ refers to Evelina Delarebeyrette or her son Gabriel Delarebeyrette. The gallery they ran together sold many Monticellis. For the nickname ‘La Roquette’, see letter 600, n. 14.
11. Regarding Marvy’s technique, see letter 825, n. 8.
12. It is possible that Theo wrote ‘sens’ instead of ‘sais’.
13. Theo had recently received two consignments of paintings from Gauguin in Brittany; see letter 799, n. 10 and letter 813, n. 11. Theo was less enthusiastic about these recent paintings than he had been about the paintings sent from Brittany the year before, several of which he had managed to sell. See letter 704, n. 1 and letter 722, n. 1.
14. On about 16 December Gauguin wrote to Theo about the accident that his eight-year-old son Jean-René had had in Copenhagen: ‘One of my boys fell from the 3rd floor. He was picked up in a terrible state and at the moment he’s in the hospital, more or less out of danger.’ (Un de mes garçons est tombée du 3em étage. On l’a relevé en capilotade et il est à l’hôpital a peu près sauvé en ce moment.) See Gauguin lettres 1983, p. 177 (GAC 23).
15. Figures in a meadow, 1889 (Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum). Ill. 312 [312]. The fan was a present from Pissarro to Jo. See Correspondance Pissarro 1980-1991, vol. 2, pp. 312-313 (letter 557) and Jampoller 1986, p. 52.
17. Only one letter from Cor in South Africa has been preserved from this period (FR b838, 20 October 1889).
b. Read: ‘inondé’.
18. For Isaäcson’s plans to go to the Transvaal, see letter 811, n. 2. It could not be ascertained which Amsterdam friends of Isaäcson Theo is referring to here.
19. In letter 829 Vincent had written that he had a ‘half-dozen’ studies of olive groves.
20. Sunflowers in a vase (F 454 / JH 1562 [2704]) and Sunflowers in a vase (F 456 / JH 1561 [2703]). Van Gogh intended to submit these two canvases to the exhibition of Les Vingt (see letter 820, n. 2).
[2704] [2703]
21. For these two drawings, Wheatfield at sunrise (F 1552 / JH 1863) and The garden of the asylum (F 1545 / JH 1851), see letter 829, n. 9.
22. Andries wrote several days later to his parents: ‘Later Net [Jo] and Theo are coming to have lunch with us. Net seems in fine fettle and Theo has regained his strength’ (FR b1850, 25 December 1889).
23. This postcard is not known. Vincent must have asked Theo how the framing of the paintings for Brussels was coming along.