1. Theo is referring to the sketch Field with a ploughman (F - / JH 1769) in letter 798.
2. At the 1889 World Exhibition held in Paris, Théodore Rousseau exhibited 16 landscapes. See exhib. cat. Paris 1889-3, p. 55, cat. nos. 600-615.
3. Theo is referring here to Mirbeau’s article ‘Claude Monet’ and his opinion of Meissonier and Rousseau. See letter 798, n. 15.
4. Pissarro’s mother, Rachel Pommié-Manzana, died on 30 May 1889 at the age of 94.
5. Camille Pissarro had been suffering since 1882 from a chronic inflammation of the tear gland – dacryocystitis – in his left eye. Around 26 May 1889, he had an eye operation to remedy this condition. Although this gave him some temporary relief, he was forced to wear an eye patch during variable weather conditions, to prevent the tear gland from becoming inflamed again. See Adler 1978, pp. 93, 131.
6. Between June and September 1889, Theo sold five paintings by Pissarro (GRI, Goupil Ledgers). We do not know how much they fetched, but a letter of 2 September from Pissarro to Theo reveals that the asking price had been high: in Pissarro’s opinion, Theo could ask at least 800 francs per painting (FR b817). See Correspondance Pissarro 1980-1991, vol. 2, pp. 289-290 and cf. Jampoller 1986.
7. Georges Pissarro, Camille’s son, received lessons from Charles Robert Ashbee – a pupil of William Morris – at the Guild and School of Handicrafts. See Adler 1978, p. 132.
8. Theo writes that Weissenbruch is not dead, because Van Gogh had assumed this in letter 776. Tersteeg sent the following eight watercolours by Weissenbruch, which had been purchased on 30 August 1889 by Goupil’s Hague branch: Route & canal (Road and canal); Canal, effet de nuage (Canal, cloudy effect); Paysage & mare (Landscape and pond); Mare (Pond); Moulins, effet de soir (Windmills, evening effect); L’heure de traire (Milking time); A travers des champs (Across the fields) and Ferme, praire & eau (Farmhouse, meadow and water). The first two were sold the same month to a collector; the others remained in Paris or were sent to the branches in London and New York. (RKD, Goupil Ledgers, nos. B&V 14237-14244).
9. The Dutch painter Johan Barthold Jongkind, who worked for a long time in France, is viewed as one of the pioneers of French Impressionism. Particularly the first generation of Impressionists were influenced by his work.
10. Gauguin wrote to Theo around 1 September 1889: ‘I have just sent a parcel of canvases to your address in boulevard Montmartre. As you will see, it’s something different, but I very much dread allowing them to be seen, given that they are only a state preparatory to what I am doing now. I have just done one, among others, that I was unable to send you, as it was not dry, which fully encompasses what I feel and am trying to do’ (Je viens d’envoyer un paquet de toiles à votre adresse Bd Montmartre. C’est comme vous verrez autre chose mais j’aprehende de beaucoup à les faire voir attendu qu’elles ne sont qu’un état préparatoire à ce que je fais aujourd’hui. Je viens d’en faire une entre autres que je n’ai pu vous envoyer n’étant pas sèche et qui renferme bien ce que je ressens et ce que je veux). See Gauguin lettres 1983, pp. 120-125 (GAC 17).
It is not known which works Gauguin sent, apart from La belle Angèle (see n. 12 below). The exhib. cat. Chicago 2001 suggests that he also sent Flageolet player on the cliff, Brittany (W361), The red cow (W365) and Landscape with two Breton women (not in Wildenstein). See exhib. cat. Chicago 2001, pp. 293-297. According to Cooper, Gauguin possibly sent the following works: Cowherd (W344), Little girls at Le Pouldu (W345), Haymakers (W350), Harvest in Brittany (W352), The Fence (W353), Fields at the seaside (W356), On the beach in Brittany (W359), and The isolated house (W364). See Gauguin lettres 1983, p. 121 (n. 1). It is not clear, however, where Cooper got this information; Wildenstein 1964 gives no clues.
11. Regarding the paintings Gauguin shipped from Pont-Aven in October 1888, see letter 704, n. 1.
12. Paul Gauguin, La belle Angèle (W315), 1889 (Paris, Musée d’Orsay). Ill. 99 .
Irises (F 608 / JH 1691 ) and Starry night over the Rhône (F 474 / JH 1592 ). Theo wrote about these to Willemien: ‘I submitted two paintings to the exhibition of the Indépendants that made a very good impression. A field of irises and the starry night, view of Arles with the street-lamps and the stars reflecting in the Rhône’ (FR b926, 27 November 1889).
In his review of the exhibition for La Vogue (September 1889), the art critic Félix Fénéon wrote the following about Van Gogh’s paintings: ‘His Irises violently shred their purple parts over their lath-like leaves. Mr van Gogh is a diverting colourist even in eccentricities like his Starry Night: on the sky, criss-crossed in coarse basketwork with a flat brush, cones of white, pink and yellow, stars, have been applied straight from the tube; orange triangles are being swept away in the river, and near some moored boats strangely sinister beings hasten by’ (Les Iris de celui-ci déchiquètent violemment leurs pans violets sur leurs feuilles en lattes. M. Van Gogh est un amusant coloriste même dans des extravagances comme sa Nuit étoilée: sur le ciel, quadrillé en grossière sparterie par la brosse plate, les tubes ont directement posé des cônes de blanc, de rose, de jaune, étoiles; des triangles d’orangé s’engloutissent dans le fleuve, et, près de bateaux amarrés, des êtres baroquement sinistres se hâtent). See Fénéon 1970, vol. 1, p. 168.
On 26 August 1889, Theo paid 10 francs for Vincent’s contribution to the Société des Indépendants, and in March 1890 another 10 francs via Tanguy for the exhibition of the Indépendants. See Account book 2002, pp. 44-45.
14. Toulouse-Lautrec exhibited three works: Dance Hall at the Moulin de la Galette, 1889 (The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr and Mrs Lewis L. Coburn Memorial Collection). Ill. 430 ; Portrait of Mr Fourcade (Sao Paulo Museum of Art); and Study of a woman. See exhib. cat. Paris 1889-1, p. 19, cat. nos. 257-259.
15. The exhibition was held in 1889 in the Salle de la Société d’horticulture, 84 rue de Grenelle (Saint-Germain); in 1887 and 1888 in the Pavillon de la Ville de Paris on the Champs-Elysées.
16. Seurat exhibited Le Crotoy, downstream, 1889 (private collection), Le Crotoy, upstream, 1889 (The Detroit Institute of Arts) and Port-en-Bessin, (The Minneapolis Institute of Arts). See exhib. cat. Paris 1889-1, p. 18, cat. nos. 241-243, and exhib. cat. Paris 1991, pp. 327, 331-332, cat. nos. 209, 211-212.
17. Signac exhibited not two, but three landscapes, namely Portrieux. The jetty, grey weather. Opus 180, 1888 (Otterlo, Kröller-Müller Museum), Portrieux, the harbour. Opus 190, 1888 (Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie) and Cassis. The jetty. Opus 198, 1889 (New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art). See exhib. cat. Paris 1889-1, p. 18, cat. nos. 244-246, and Cachin 2000, pp. 187, 189, 192, cat. nos. 164, 172, 184.
18. Louis Hayet, Five o’clock, 1889 (private collection). The work is also known by the title The Place de la Concorde. See exhib. cat. Paris 1889-1, p. 11, cat. no. 138, and Guy Dulon and Christophe Duvivier, Louis Hayet, 1864-1940. Peintre et théoricien du Néo-Impressionnisme. Pontoise 1991, p. 100.
19. Theo must be referring to Seurat’s painting Circus parade, 1887-1888 (New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (bequest of Stephen C. Clark, 1960)). Ill. 427 . This painting was shown at the 1888 exhibition of the Indépendants, cat. no. 614. In La Vogue Fénéon also compared Hayet’s painting with that of Seurat: ‘The figures whose heads are cut off by the frame are too much like those in the Parade by Mr Seurat’ (Les personnages décapités par le cadre sont trop ceux de la Parade de Monsieur Seurat). See Fénéon 1970, vol. 1, p. 167. Vincent en Theo must have seen the painting in Seurat’s studio on 19 February 1888 (see letter 589, n. 19).
20. Jo’s sister Hermina (Mien) Bonger had arrived in Paris at the end of August and would stay with Theo and Jo until 23 October (FR b4293, b2848).