My dear Theo,
Your letter gave me great pleasure, I thank you for it as well as for the 50-franc note.
I congratulate you heartily on Tersteeg’s letter — I think it’s absolutely satisfactory.
I’m convinced there’s nothing hurtful in his silence towards me, in any case he’d have expected you to give me his reply to read. And it’s much more practical for him having only to write to you, and as far as I’m concerned, if he doesn’t think what I’m doing is utterly bad, you’ll see, he’ll write me a line as soon as he’s seen my work. So once again, I’m happier with his simple and friendly reply than I could tell you.
You’ll have noticed that he states his willingness to make a purchase of a good quality Monticelli for his own collection. If you told him that we have a bouquet of flowers in our collection that is more artistic and more beautiful than a bouquet by Diaz.1
That Monticelli would sometimes take a bouquet of flowers in order to put on a single panel the whole range of his richest and most perfectly balanced tones. And that you have to go straight to Delacroix to find such an orchestration of colours.2  1v:2
That — I’m referring to the painting at the Delarebeyrettes’3 — we currently know of another bouquet of very good quality and at a reasonable price, and that in any case we think it’s much finer than the Monticellis with figures, which are all over the place these days and belong to a period of decline in Monticelli’s talent.
I hope you’ll send him Gauguin’s fine seascape.4 But how pleased I am that Tersteeg has replied in this way.
When you write to him, say a word about Russell. When I write to Russell myself, I’ll talk about his paintings and I’ll ask him to do an exchange with me,5 because we’d want to mention him and show his paintings when it comes to the question of the modern-day Renaissance school.
I’ve just done a clump of apricot trees in a little fresh green orchard.6
Had some trouble with the sunset with figures and a bridge that I was talking to Bernard about.7 As the bad weather prevented me from working on the spot, I completely worked this study to death trying to finish it at home.  1v:3
However, I started the same subject again immediately afterwards on another canvas, but as the weather was quite different, in a grey palette and without figures.8
I wouldn’t think it a bad idea if you sent Tersteeg one of my studies — do you mean the Clichy bridge with the yellow sky and two houses reflected in the water?9

That one, or the butterflies10 or the field of poppies11 might do. However, I hope to do better things here. If you happen to feel that way, you could tell Tersteeg that I myself think I have a better chance of sales in Holland with the studies of nature in the south, and that when Tersteeg comes to Paris in May he’ll find a consignment with some subjects from down here.12
And again, many thanks for all the initiatives you’ve taken for the Independents’ exhibition, all in all I’m really pleased that they’ve put them with the other Impressionists.13 But — although this time it makes no difference at all — in future my name must be put in the catalogue the way I sign it on the canvases, i.e. Vincent and not Vangogh, for the excellent reason that people here wouldn’t be able to pronounce that name.14  1r:4
I’m returning herewith the letter from Tersteeg and the one from Russell — it will perhaps be interesting to keep the artists’ correspondence.15
If you included the little head of a Breton woman by our friend Bernard in your consignment, that wouldn’t be a bad idea.16 We must show him that all the Impressionists are good and that what they do is very varied.
I think our friend Reid regrets falling out, unfortunately there can be no question of offering him the same advantages again — that is, trying to let him have paintings on commission. It’s not enough to love paintings, and it seemed to me that he lacked warm feelings for painters.17 If he changes in that respect it won’t be overnight. Tersteeg was a personal friend of Mauve and many others, and he has that je ne sais quoi that wins art lovers over. You’ll see that what gives self-confidence is knowing people.
I’ll write more in the next few days, but wanted to congratulate you right away on the renewal of your relations with Holland.

Yours truly,

The city of Paris pays practically nothing, would be sorry to see the Seurats in a provincial museum or a cellar — these paintings must stay in living hands.18 If Tersteeg was willing — — —. If we do the 3 permanent exhibitions, we’d need a large Seurat19 for Paris, one for London and one for Marseille.


Br. 1990: 591 | CL: 471
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Arles, on or about Sunday, 25 March 1888

2. Van Gogh had previously referred to ‘symphonies of colours’; this choice of words may derive from Charles Blanc, Grammaire des arts du dessin and Les artistes de mon temps See letter 537, n. 7.
3. In the 1880s François Joseph Delarebeyrette’s gallery was located at 43 rue de Provence in Paris. He was the leading dealer in Monticelli’s work. After his death in September 1886, his wife and his son Gabriel took over the running of the business. Theo and Reid regularly bought work by Monticelli there. See Fowle 2000, p. 94, and Nonne 2000, p. 42.
We do not know which of Monticelli’s flower pieces Van Gogh had seen at Delarebeyrette’s; in 1886 the gallery had some forty works by Monticelli in stock. See Alauzen and Ripert 1969, p. 447.
4. See for Gauguin’s The beach at Dieppe [2143]: letter 582, n. 5. Tersteeg had asked Theo to send him a number of ‘modern’ paintings (see letter 592). At the end of March 1888 Theo sent a consignment to the Hague branch. It contained one work each by Degas, Monet, Sisley, Camille Pissarro, Guillaumin, Gauguin, Van Gogh (The Seine with the Clichy bridge (F 303 / JH 1323 [2553]), after which is the letter sketch of the same name F - / JH 1324; see n. 9 below) and Toulouse-Lautrec, and two by Monticelli. See exhib. cat. Amsterdam 1999, p. 81. On 18 April Monticelli’s Women with jewellery (Femmes aux bijoux) was sold to the Amsterdam art dealer E.J. van Wisselingh; the other paintings remained unsold and were sent back to Paris on 9 June (RKD, Goupil Ledgers and Jampoller 1986, p. 51).
[2143] [2553] [669]
5. This exchange was discussed several times between March and July 1888, but does not seem to have gone ahead. Van Gogh had probably already exchanged work with Russell in Paris; see letter 569, n. 13. Russell’s Vincent van Gogh [1310] and the Seated female nude that has meanwhile been attributed to him (both Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum) may have been obtained by way of exchange. Russell owned two paintings by Van Gogh – only one of which, Shoes (F 332 / JH 1234), can now be identified – and one lithograph, ‘At eternity’s gate’ (F 1662 / JH 268 [2417]). See cat. Amsterdam 2011.
In August 1888 Van Gogh sent twelve drawings to Russell; see letters 652, n. 3 and 654, n. 1. This was not, though, related to the exchange suggested here.
[1310] [655] [2417]
6. Orchard with apricot trees in blossom (F 553 / JH 1387 [2585]) or Orchard with apricot trees in blossom (F 556 / JH 1383 [2581]). The description ‘fresh green’ is most applicable to the former work. Both paintings are of apricot trees (with thanks to Hans den Nijs, Experimental Plant Systematics, University of Amsterdam). The pink orchard (F 555 / JH 1380 [2578]) was painted later; see letter 594.
[2585] [2581] [2578]
7. All that survives of this study is the fragment Walking couple (F 544 / JH 1369 [2572]). Van Gogh described the study in letter 587 to Bernard (which was enclosed with letter 588 to Theo), and made the letter sketch The Langlois bridge with walking couple (F - JH 1370) after it.
8. The Langlois bridge (F 400 / JH 1371 [2573]).
9. The Seine with the Clichy bridge (F 303 / JH 1323 [2553]).
10. Probably Grass and butterflies (F 460 / JH 1676 [2778]). The painting is now thought to belong to the Paris period (it had previously been dated to spring 1889). See cat. Amsterdam 2011.
11. Probably Poppies in a wheatfield (F 562 / JH 1483 [2653]), which likewise appears to date from the Paris period (previously dated June 1888). See cat. Amsterdam 2011.
12. Tersteeg’s trip to Paris took place a little later, in the first half of June: see letter 625.
13. Van Gogh exhibited three works at the Indépendants; see letter 582, n. 9. Angrand, Anquetin, Lucien Pissarro, Seurat and Signac also had work there.
14. Theo must have sent Vincent a copy of the catalogue, where it does indeed say ‘Van Gogh’, with Theo’s home address. See for the catalogue letter 582, n. 9.
15. These letters from Tersteeg and Russell do not appear to have survived.
16. See for the consignment n. 4 above; it did not include a work by Bernard. We have been unable to identify his ‘little head of a Breton woman’.
17. In his letters Van Gogh repeatedly accused Reid of not caring enough about living artists, and only being concerned with making money. See letters 591, 598 and 604.
18. Theo may have mentioned the rumours about the purchase of Seurat’s Models [2234] by the city of Paris in his previous letter. See exhib. cat. Paris 1991, p. 408.
19. A few hours before he left for Arles, on 19 February 1888, Vincent went with Theo to Seurat’s studio (see letter 695) at 128bis boulevard de Clichy. Models [2234] and A Sunday afternoon on the island of La Grande Jatte [425] were probably among the large canvases they saw there; Van Gogh mentions them both in letter 710.
[2234] [425]