Back to site

035 To Theo van Gogh. Paris, Saturday, 19 June 1875.

metadata
No. 035 (Brieven 1990 035, Complete Letters 28)
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Paris, Saturday, 19 June 1875

Source status
Original manuscript

Location
Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, inv. no. b37 V/1962

Date
Letter headed: ‘[Paris, le] 19 Juni [187]5’.

original text
 1r:1
Goupil & Cie
Editeurs Imprimeurs
Estampes Françaises & Étrangères
Tableaux Modernes
Rue Chaptal, 9, PARIS.
Succursales à la Haye, Londres, Berlin, New-York.

Paris, le 19 Juni [187]5

Waarde Theo,
Ik had gehoopt haar nog te zien voor haar sterven1 & dat is niet gebeurd. L’homme s’agite & Dieu le mène.2
Gij zult in de eerste kist die wij naar Holland zenden vinden eene phot. naar dat Schij van Ph. de Champaigne,3 waarvan Michelet zegt: “elle m’est restée 30 ans, me revenant sans cesse”,4 verder eene ets van Daubigny naar Ruysdael “Le Buisson”,5 eene lith. naar Corot “Soleil couchant”,6 eene lith. van Bodmer, Fontainebleau en automne7 & twee etsen Jacque.8
à Dieu.

Vincent

Hoe lang ik nog hier blijf weet ik niet, maar voor ik naar London terug ga hoop ik naar Helvoirt te gaan,9 ik hoop gij er dan ook zult zijn. De reis zal ik betalen.
 1r:2
Gij zult haar & haar sterven wel niet vergeten, maar houdt het voor Uzelven. Dit is een van de dingen die ons langzamerhand “droevig maar altijd blijde”10 maken; & dat moeten we worden.─

translation
 1r:1
[Letterhead: Goupil Paris]

Paris, 19 June 1875

My dear Theo,
I had hoped to see her again before she died,1 and that didn’t happen. Man proposes and God disposes.2
In the first crate we send to Holland you’ll find a photo of that painting by P. de Champaigne,3 of which Michelet said, ‘she stayed with me for 30 years, coming back to me incessantly’,4 also an etching by Daubigny after Ruisdael’s ‘Bush’,5 a lithograph after Corot’s ‘Sunset’,6 a lithograph by Bodmer, ‘Fontainebleau in the autumn’7 and two Jacque etchings.8
Adieu

Vincent

I don’t know how long I’ll be staying here, but before I return to London I hope to go to Helvoirt.9 I hope you’ll be there too. I’ll pay for the journey.  1r:2
You certainly won’t forget her and her death, but keep it to yourself. This is one of those things that, little by little, makes us ‘sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing’;10 and that we must become.
notes
1. Annet Haanebeek had died on Monday, 14 June (cf. letter 33).
2. Van Gogh undoubtedly took this saying from the painting by Jules-Joseph Dauban, The reception of a stranger among the Trappist monks , which he had seen in the Musée du Luxembourg. See letter 55, n. 19 and cf. Prov 16:9. The French expression Van Gogh uses occurred in a sermon delivered by François de Salignac de la Mothe Fénélon in 1685.
3. For the painting Portrait of a lady , see letter 14, n. 19.
4. The quotation alludes to a sentence in ‘Les aspirations de l’automne’ (The longing for autumn) in Jules Michelet, L’amour (part 5, chapter 5): ‘Cette femme m’est restée trente années, me revenant obstinément, m’inquiétant’ (see Michelet, L’amour, p. 389).
5. Charles-François Daubigny, Le buisson (The bush), etching (after Jacob van Ruisdael) of 1855. Ill. 1717 . In letter 156, Van Gogh says that the print was sold in the department of Chalcographie at the Louvre. Cf. Henriet 1875, pp. 124-125, no. 73.
6. There are two lithographs after Camille Corot with Soleil couchant (Sunset) in the title. It cannot be said with certainty which one Van Gogh is referring to here. A lithograph of Le batelier à la rive (Soleil couchant) (Boatman on the shore (sunset)), 1845-1850 (in reverse) was published by Louis-François Français in Les artistes anciens et modernes. A lithograph of Le petit berger (The little shepherd) (titled Landscape, sunset at the Salon of 1840, no. 308) was published by Louis-François Français in L’Artiste of 1840. See Robaut 1965, vol. 2, pp. 216-217, no. 615; and p. 138, no. 374.
7. Van Gogh could be referring to the lithograph Forêt de Fontainebleau (Forest of Fontainebleau) by Eugène Le Roux after the painting by Bodmer (Paris, BNF, Cabinet des Estampes). Ill. 1718 . As regards the painting Fontainebleau in autumn , see letter 55, n. 11.
8. Van Gogh’s wording is ambiguous: he could be referring either to two etchings by or after Charles Emile Jacque. In Theo’s scrapbook, however, there are at least nine etchings by Charles Emile Jacque, which possibly include the two mentioned here (Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, t*1487). Goupil had published Jacque’s etching La maréchalerie (The smithy) in Lièvre, Musée Universel 1868-1869.
9. On 9 June 1875, Mr van Gogh wrote to Theo: ‘Yesterday evening (but this in strictest confidence) we had a strange letter from Vincent. It worries us somewhat, if only the heat and over-exertion haven’t over-excited him.
I send it herewith, but send it back to me directly. We’ll try quietly to arrange for him to get his holidays a little earlier. I fear overstrain. My dear Theo, this to you alone – as our confidant – if anything occurs to you that could be of help, write to us confidentially. I believe in a sickly condition, whether of body or mind. We are concerned but believe in God’s direction and guidance and will be strengthened by it, if it must be so’ (FR b2341). Mrs van Gogh also expressed her concern (FR b2342).
10. 2 Cor. 6:10.