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888 Theo van Gogh to Vincent van Gogh. Paris, Sunday, 15 June 1890.

No. 888 (Brieven 1990 892, Complete Letters T37)
From: Theo van Gogh
To: Vincent van Gogh
Date: Paris, Sunday, 15 June 1890

Source status
Original manuscript

Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, inv. no. b764 V/1962

Letter headed: ‘Paris le 15 Juillet 1890’. Theo must have been mistaken about the month, since he responds here to Vincent’s news about the furniture and the order for paint in letter 887 of 14 June. The letter could not have been written on 15 July, because the furniture had arrived by then (Van Gogh confirms receipt of the furniture in letter 898 of about 10 July), besides which, other topics were occupying them at that time.

Theo enclosed letter 884 from Gauguin.

original text
Paris le 15 Juillet 18901

Mon cher Vincent,
Je suis bien content que les nouvelles que tu nous donnes restent bonnes & que le courage pour le travail est loin de t’abandonner.
Tasset doit t’envoyer aujourd’hui les couleurs que tu demandes.2 Tanguy me disait l’autre jour que les tubes de Tasset étaient bien plus courts & contenaient donc moins de couleurs que les siens. Si cela était le cas dis le moi, car je pourrai faire usage de ceçi pour avoir une reduction  1v:2 sur le prix. Il sera bien plus tranquille pour toi quand tes meubles seront arrivés aussi pour que tu puisses peut-être trouver un camarade à restera avec toi. Il y a un Hollandais qui viendra te voir,3 il était recommandé par de Bock4 qui lui avait recommandé Fontainebleau,5 mais il le trouve pas à son gout. Je ne sais pas s’il a du talent, il n’avait rien à montrer. Lauzet est venu hier matin voir tes tableaux, il est très occupé avec ses Monticelli qui vont paraître dans une dizaine de jours.6 Il7 aime beaucoup le portrait de femme que tu as fait à Arles.8 Pour son projet de la Martinique9 c’est peut être bien ce qu’il lui faut, mais si cela doit dépendre d’un payement à un inventeur10 cela n’est pas encore  1v:3 bien sûr. Sous ce pli tu trouveras une lettre de lui qu’il me prie de t’envoyer.11 Son séjour chez Schoefenecker12 ne lui fait pas de bien, il n’y travaille presque pas tandis que la Bretagne l’inspire. Il est donc bon qu’il parte.
Je te dis bonjour de Jo, il faut que je finisse à la hate sans quoi la lettre ne partira pas aujourd’hui. Elle est un peu indisposée mais j’espère que cela ne sera pas grave.
Bonne poignée de mains.


Paris 15 July 18901

My dear Vincent,
I’m really pleased that the news you give us remains good, and that the courage for work is far from abandoning you.
Tasset is to send you the colours you ask for today.2 Tanguy was telling me the other day that the tubes from Tasset were much shorter and therefore contained less paint than his. If that was the case tell me, for I can make use of that to have a reduction  1v:2 in the price. It will be much calmer for you when your furniture has arrived too, so that you may perhaps be able to find a colleague to stay with you. There’s a Dutchman who’ll come and see you,3 he was recommended by De Bock4 who had recommended Fontainebleau5 to him, but he doesn’t find it to his taste. I don’t know if he has any talent, he had nothing to show. Lauzet came yesterday morning to see your paintings, he’s very busy with his Monticellis, which are going to be published in ten days’ time.6 He7 very much likes the portrait of a woman you did in Arles.8 It’s perhaps just what he needs for his Martinique project,9 but if it’s to depend on a payment to an inventor10 it isn’t yet  1v:3 really certain. Enclosed with this letter you’ll find a letter from him which he asked me to send you.11 His stay with Schuffenecker12 isn’t doing him any good, he’s hardly working at all there, whereas Brittany inspires him. So it’s good that he’s leaving.
I give you Jo’s regards, I must finish in haste, otherwise the letter won’t go off today. She’s a little indisposed, but I hope that it won’t be anything serious.
Good handshake.

1. Theo is mistaken; it must be 15 June 1890 (see Date).
2. Van Gogh had placed this order for paint in letter 887.
a. Read: ‘séjourner’.
3. This Dutchman was Anton Hirschig; cf. letter 902, l. 54.
4. This refers to Théophile de Bock.
5. For Lauzet’s publication Adolphe Monticelli, see letter 825, n. 7.
6. The painters of the Barbizon School, among others, had worked in the artists’ village of Fontainebleau.
7. Strictly speaking, Theo could be referring here to either Lauzet or Gauguin, to whom the rest of the paragraph refers. Vincent assumed that Theo was talking about Lauzet (cf. RM23, ll. 57-59). We think it most likely that ‘Il’ refers to Gauguin.
8. If ‘did in Arles’ (l. 27) is to be taken literally, Theo is referring to Marie Ginoux (‘The Arlésienne’) (F 489 / JH 1625 ). However, during this period the correspondence constantly refers to the second series of Arlésiennes that Van Gogh painted in Saint-Rémy. Assuming that Theo meant Gauguin when he wrote ‘Il’ (see n. 7), this must refer to the portrait Gauguin received: Marie Ginoux (‘The Arlésienne’) (F 542 / JH 1894 ). Cf. also letter 884, n. 2.
9. Theo means Madagascar; see n. 11 below.
10. This ‘inventor’ was a certain Charlopin. The ‘payment’ mentioned by Theo, on which Gauguin’s project supposedly depended, was the money that Charlopin was meant to receive for an invention he had sold. Gauguin wanted to sell him 38 paintings and 5 ceramic pieces for 5,000 francs, hoping in this way to fund his voyage to the tropics. This emerges from a lost letter from Gauguin to Theo of 30 or 31 May 1890 (quoted in part in Gauguin lettres 1983, p. 183, n. 3). Gauguin’s plan came to nothing.
11. This was Gauguin’s letter 884, in which he wrote about his impending departure for Brittany and his plans to go to Madagascar.
12. When he returned to Paris at the beginning of February 1890, Gauguin moved in with Emile Schuffenecker, 12 rue Durand-Claye. See exhib. cat. Washington 1988, p. 48.