1. The letter to Aurier is letter 853; the letter from Theo is letter 852.
2. It appears from Theo’s letter (852) that Gauguin had returned to Paris on 8 February. It is not known whether Van Gogh actually sent Gauguin a copy of his letter to Aurier. Regarding Aurier’s article ‘Les isolés: Vincent van Gogh’, see letter 845, n. 2.
3. Gauguin wrote this in letter 844.
4. This refers to the anonymous article ‘La fécondité des maîtres’ (The fecundity of the masters) in L’Art Moderne. Revue Critique des Arts et de la Littérature 10 (19 January 1890, no. 3), p. 22. This piece, which comes immediately after the shortened version of Aurier’s ‘Les isolés: Vincent van Gogh’, quotes a list published in the Guide de l’amateur d’oeuvres d’art of the number of paintings supposedly made by ‘the masters of the School of 1830’. Corot, for example, is estimated to have made 6,000 ‘canvases or panels’, Dupré 3,000 and Rousseau 2,000. The author thinks these figures greatly exaggerated, ‘pure fantasy’, and suggests a more cautious estimate.
5. Here Van Gogh refers to Scotland in connection with the above-mentioned Reid, his Scottish friend from Paris, who was an art dealer.
6. Cypresses (F 620 / JH 1748 [2809]). Van Gogh painted it in June 1889 (see letter 783) and later worked on it again after deciding to give it to Aurier.
7. The sixth exhibition of the Société des Artistes Indépendants was held in the Pavillon de la Ville de Paris on the Champs-Elysées from 20 March to 27 April 1890. Van Gogh exhibited ten paintings. See exhib. cat. Paris 1890-2, p. 41, cat. nos. 832-841. Eight of these can be identified on the basis of the titles in the catalogue. ‘Le cyprès’ must be Cypresses (F 613 / JH 1746 [2807]), considering that Van Gogh intended to give his second painting of this subject, F 620 / JH 1748 [2809], to Aurier (see letter 853). ‘Rue à Saint-Rémy’ is Road menders (‘The tall plane trees’) (F 657 / JH 1860 [2872]); the other version, F 658 / JH 1861 [2873], was still with Van Gogh in Saint-Rémy (see letter 834). ‘Les Alpines’ is Ravine (F 662 / JH 1804 [2853]); the second version, F 661 / JH 1871 [2881], was still with Van Gogh (see letter 836). ‘Promenade à Arles’ is most likely Avenue of chestnut trees in blossom (F 517 / JH 1689 [2785]), which Theo thought very beautiful and referred to by the same title in letter 793 (as well as in the list recorded below). ‘Mûrier en automne’ is Mulberry tree (F 637 / JH 1796 [2847]). ‘Sous bois’ is Trees with ivy in the garden of the asylum (F 609 / JH 1693 [2789]), and ‘Lever de soleil en Provence’ is Wheatfield at sunrise (F 737 / JH 1862 [2874]); the last two canvases were being shown at that time at the exhibition of Les Vingt in Brussels. ‘Les Tournesols’ is either Sunflowers in a vase (F 454 / JH 1562 [2704]) or Sunflowers in a vase (F 456 / JH 1561 [2703]), which were also shown at the exhibition of Les Vingt.
The other two canvases, ‘Paysage montagneux en Provence’ and ‘Verger d’oliviers en Provence’ can also be identified with certainty, thanks to a list that Theo made on the back of a letter from Dr Peyron dated 24 February 1890 (see FR b1062; Hulsker 1971, pp. 42-43). In addition to the above-mentioned titles, which were listed in the catalogue in the order given by Theo, he wrote down ‘Champs de blé (avec les nuages tourmenté)’ (Wheatfields (with billowy clouds)) and ‘Oliviers (soleil couchant)’ (Olive trees (setting sun)). These descriptive titles tell us that the paintings in question were Wheatfield after a storm (F 611 / JH 1723 [2796]) and Olive grove (F 586 / JH 1854 [2868]), which Vincent himself described as ‘Olive trees. Orange and green sunset sky’ (see letter 834).
[2807] [2809] [2872] [2873] [2853] [2881] [2785] [2847] [2789] [2874] [2704] [2703] [2796] [2868]
8. For Daumier’s The four ages of the drinker [51], see letter 267, n. 33. Van Gogh’s painting after this print is Men drinking (after Daumier) (F 667 / JH 1884 [2887]).
[51] [2887]
9. Doré’s ‘Le bagne’ is a reference to Newgate – exercise yard. The print was included in London – a pilgrimage. London 1872, p. 136. Van Gogh owned the engraving A prison yard in Newgate by Héliodore Joseph Pisan from De Katholieke Illustratie 6 (1872-1873), no. 45, p. 357, to which he applied grid lines to aid him in studying the proportions (Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum) Ill. 782 [782]. t*1005. Van Gogh’s Penitentiary (after Doré) (F 669 / JH 1885 [2888]) was based on this print. The estate contains another copy of this print: t*740.
[782] [2888]
10. For Delacroix’s The Good Samaritan [2290], see letter 768, n. 22. Van Gogh did not carry out his plan until the end of April; see letter 866.
11. This was probably George Léon Alfred Perrichon’s engraving after the drawing by Edmond Charles Joseph Yon after Millet’s painting The woodcutter [271]; see letter 141, n. 7, and exhib. cat. Paris 1998, p. 136. In the end, Van Gogh did not make a copy of it.
12. For Gauguin’s plan, see letter 844.
13. This remark refers to the exhibition of Gauguin’s work held in Copenhagen in May 1885; see letter 844, n. 2.
14. ‘La Campine’ (de Kempen) is a region in northern Belgium.
15. Gauguin spent the period May-October 1887 working in Martinique.
16. These repetitions are Sunflowers in a vase (F 455 / JH 1668 [2772]) and Sunflowers in a vase (F 458 / JH 1667 [2771]). Gauguin never got these works. It can be inferred from this passage that both works were at Theo’s; this refutes Feilchenfeldt’s theory that F 455 remained in Arles. See Feilchenfeldt 2005, p. 298.
[2772] [2771]
17. Gauguin eventually received Augustine Roulin (‘La berceuse’) (F 506 / JH 1670 [2774]). See letter 776, n. 4.