23 June 1890
My dear Vincent,
I have something to write to you which I think will give you pleasure. Yesterday I was first at the Salon with Boch, who then came to lunch, after which we saw your paintings. He likes them very much, and it seems to me that he understands them. As you had said that you would willingly do an exchange with him, when I saw that he preferred the canvas you did after reading Rod’s book,1 I told him that he could
1v:2 take that one in exchange for a painting of his. He seemed delighted, and put everything he had at your disposal. I went with him to see what he had with him, and among them was a canvas of around no. 20 done at Frameries in the Borinage, depicting the factory of Crachet & Pecry, which perhaps you remember, the whole factory is in smoke and steam and stands out darkly with very bright reflections of the sun on one side against the green wheat. The sky is very luminous.2 I think that above all the subject and the intention of what he wanted to do are remarkable. It’s neither very skilful nor powerful, but very sincere, like the fellow himself. If you don’t like this canvas he’ll willingly change it for another, but it would astonish me if you didn’t like it at all. The Salon is pitiful,
1v:3 there’s almost nothing there that isn’t profoundly boring. You, though, judged well as regards the Quost. If I had to choose one that’s the one I’d take. It is Easter flowers.3 It’s very gentle and harmonious, and all the same there’s colour in it. The Jeannins are good too, but they’re full of bluster.4
I saw Quost the other day and I spoke to him about you. I was telling him that you liked his talent very much, which pleased him very much, he said. If you come to Paris you mustn’t fail to go and see him, he’ll be very pleased when you come to see him, either in the park or at his place.5 And now I must tell you something about your etching.6 It’s a real painter’s etching. No refinement in the procedure, but a drawing done on metal. I like
1r:4 this drawing very much. Boch also liked it. It’s amusing that Dr Gachet has this press, painters who make etchings are always complaining that they have to go to the printer for the proofs.
I think that Auvers has a lot of good, and I would very much like you to be of that opinion. We’re already looking forward with a great deal of pleasure to coming to see you soon.
For different reasons, first to see you, secondly to see your work, thirdly for the beautiful nature, and fourthly because I hope that seeing the countryside will give me strength for being able to work a great deal. The Raffaëlli exhibition is finished,7 now the people are all going to the country and I’m not losing much by not being there.
I’m enclosing 50 francs for you with this letter. Last week Jo had to stay in bed all the time, but fortunately it’s gone now. The little one is well. Warm regards, also from Jo and the little one.