My dear Theo,
I’ll start by telling you that the letter you didn’t receive was wrongly addressed by me and as such came back to me. I had — in a moment of distraction — a classic case — addressed it rue de Laval instead of rue Lepic.1
That being so I’m repeating for you what was in the letter — what was new — the visit by MacKnight, Russell’s friend, who came back last Sunday by the way.2 I must go to see him at home and see what he’s making, of which I’ve seen nothing so far.
He’s a Yankee who probably does much better than the ordinary run of Yankees. But a Yankee all the same.
Is that saying enough? When I’ve seen his paintings or drawings I’ll concede about the work. But about the man, still the same.
The main point of this letter is to know if you’ve left, and how. And after — that — what comes after — you perhaps don’t know yourself.
Anyway, it always seems that those Boussod Val. gentlemen don’t care in the least
1v:2 for what the artists themselves will say about it.
But I won’t hide from you that I thought the news was bad and that, I assure you, I’ve thought about it every day, quite in spite of myself. Because I daren’t continue with things that are going to cost you more than they’ll bring in at present. Because it’s something of a sign, all this conversation with those B&V gentlemen, that Impressionism isn’t catching on sufficiently.
As for me, I immediately stopped doing paintings and I’ve carried on with a series of pen drawings of which you’ve had the first two, but in a smaller format.3
Because I said to myself that a falling-out with those gentlemen could make lower expenses on my part desirable for you.
Not being so very attached to my paintings I’d leave them there without grumbling too much.
Not being, fortunately for me, one of those people whose only love in this world is paintings.
On the contrary, believing that an artistic thing can be made at less cost than a painting requires — I’ve started a series of pen drawings.
While waiting, I have some annoyances. I don’t now think that I’ll benefit from staying where I am,4 I’d rather take a room or two rooms, if need be, one to sleep in, one to work in.
Because the people here, in order to make me pay pretty high rates for EVERYTHING, make too much of the fact that I take up a little more room with my paintings than their other customers who aren’t painters. For my part, I’ll make the point that I’m staying longer and spend more in the guest-house than labourers who just stay a short time. And they won’t get a sou out of me so easily any more.
But — it’s always a really miserable thing dragging your equipment and paintings along behind you, and that makes coming in and going out more difficult.
Being forced, determined anyway, to move, do you want or rather do you think it more suitable, to go to Marseille now? I can do a series of seascapes there like the orchards in blossom series here. And I’ve also bought 3 strong cloth shirts and two pairs of sturdy shoes, with the idea of moving.
In Marseille I would be more willing to try to obtain a showcase for the Impressionists, if you for your part would give me an assurance that you’d supply it, this showcase, with Impressionist paintings if people ask you to exhibit them. Which will be easy.
I sometimes have serious anxieties that you, and I too, will be rooked again by those Boussod Valadon & Cie gentlemen, who give us a hard time. But I resist it. Don’t let yourself be rooked by them. Enough for today.
So let me know your address in case you travel. When will you be in Holland? Still same address for me but would like to move, as I don’t feel comfortable here.
Will send you pen drawings shortly, I already have 4 of them.5
Will be very hard up end of month but should get by, only it’s being able to move right away that bothers me.