From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Arles, on or about Tuesday, 11 December 1888
Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, inv. no. b612 V/1962
Letter 726 used to be placed before 724, but we think – as do Pickvance, Merlhès and Dorn – that the order of these letters should be reversed. See exhib. cat. New York 1984, p. 262; Merlhès 1989, pp. 226-227; and Dorn 1990, pp. 525-527.
In the present letter Vincent thanks Theo for the money he sent (ll. 2-4). Previous editions have assumed that this was the third instalment of the December allowance, namely the payment due on the 23rd (on this subject, see letter 736). This would mean that there is no confirmation of receipt of the second instalment, and that Van Gogh wrote this letter on 23 December, shortly before mutilating his ear. We think it more plausible that this is confirmation of the second instalment of the December allowance and that Vincent was prevented from sending confirmation of the third payment in the aftermath of his self-mutilation. We have therefore dated this letter to about Tuesday, 11 December 1888.
This agrees with the assumption that the letter was enclosed in a letter from Gauguin, who had written to Theo to tell him that he wanted to return to Paris (see Additional details), whereas he changed his mind in a letter that was sent later, together with 726 of 17 or 18 December (see n. 28 to that letter).
This letter was probably sent together with a letter Gauguin had written to Theo, informing him of his desire to return to Paris; lines 5-9 in the present letter seem to be a direct reference to this. See n. 1.