My dear Theo,
I’ve just received your letter containing 100 francs, I really thank you for it — and for the previous one (also dated Brussels) containing 50 francs.1 This to tell you that I received them safely. But there should be at least 2 letters that I wrote to you in Paris2 and a roll of drawings, which, as you thought, Koning won’t have sent you. Koning sent me a postcard saying he’d received a note from the Independents, saying that if the paintings weren’t collected between April 5 and 6 they’d be put somewhere else, in storage.3 He just had to pick them up, if it was between May 5 and 6 that he meant. It’s likely that this excellent young man has somewhat lost his wits in your absence.
I’m pleased to hear you’ve sold a Degas and what you write about the purchaser.4 Meunier — I’ve also seen some very fine things by him myself — and by Henri de Braekeleer too, of course. The chap who came to Paris on behalf of Les Vingt, you know, Los Rios de Guadalquivir or an even more sonorous name than that,5 made out that De Braekeleer was reduced to helplessness by a brain disease that had completely stupefied him.6
I like to think it’s not true. Have you heard about it?
You’ll see from the letters in question that I’ve rented a studio, a whole house with 4 rooms (180 francs per year). Now it’s a matter of going there to sleep, today I’ll buy a mat and a mattress and blanket.
I also have 40 francs to pay at the hotel,7 so I won’t have much left over. But then I’ll be free of this guest-house where you pay too much and where I wasn’t happy. And I’ll begin to have a home of my own. You’ll find details in the letters I’ve already written to you.
The mistral’s been blowing hard here, so I’ve done a dozen small drawings which I’ve sent you.8
The weather’s splendid now, I’ve done another two large drawings and 5 small ones.9
I’ve found a crate for my consignment, which will go off tomorrow, I hope.
I’ll send you those 5 small drawings today, to Brussels.
You’ll see beautiful things at Claude Monet’s.10 And you’ll think what I send you is pretty poor, in comparison. At present I’m unhappy with myself and unhappy with what I’m doing, but I can glimpse some possibility of doing better in future.
And I hope that later on, other artists will emerge in this beautiful part of the country. To do here what the Japanese have done in their country. And working at that isn’t so bad.
I often took walks with Rappard in the place you mention. Is the suburb and the countryside beyond the Colonne du Congrès called Schaarbeek?11 I recall a place called, I think, La Vallée de Josaphat, where there are poplars and where Hippolyte Boulenger, the landscape artist, did some fine things.12 I remember sunsets in the Botanical Garden, seen from the boulevard that runs alongside it.
In the crate I’m sending you you’ll find some reeds for Koning.
And the address from now on will be
place Lamartine 2
I hope — and I have no doubts — that when you get back to Paris it will finally be spring. And not before time, for Heaven’s sake.
Living at the hotel you never make progress, and now at the end of a year I’ll have furniture &c. that will belong to me, and while that wouldn’t be worthwhile if I was in the south for only a few months, it’s quite another matter once it’s a question of a long stay.
And I have no doubts that I’ll always love nature here, it’s something like Japanese art, once you love that you don’t have second thoughts about it.