To Theo van Gogh. Arles, on or about Friday, 2 March 1888.
My dear Theo
I was very pleased to receive your letter and the rough draft of the letter to Tersteeg and the 50-franc note.
Your letter to Tersteeg is perfectly good in the draft, I hope you didn’t spoil it too much when making a fair copy.
It seems to me that your letter to Tersteeg adds to mine — myself, I regretted the state in which I had posted it. Because you’ll have noticed that the idea of getting Tersteeg to take the initiative in introducing the Impressionists to England only came to me when writing the actual letter, and was only partially expressed in a P.S. added afterwards. While in your letter you explain that idea to him more fully. Will he understand? Indeed — it concerns him.
I’ve had a letter here from Gauguin, who says he’s been ill in bed for a fortnight. That he’s broke, since he’s had to pay off some pressing debts. That he’d like to know if you’ve sold anything for him but that he can’t write to you for fear of bothering you. That he’s under so much pressure to earn a little money he’d be determined to reduce the price of his paintings still further.
I can do nothing about this business from my end except write to Russell, which I’ll do this very day. And after all, we’ve already tried to get Tersteeg to buy one. But what can we do, he must really be hard up. I’m sending you a few lines for him in case you have something to tell him, but open letters if any come for me, because you’ll know sooner what’s in them if you do that and that will save me the trouble of telling you what’s in them. This goes once and for all.
Would you risk buying the seascape from him for the firm? If that were possible he would be out of difficulties for the time being.
Now it’s very good that you’ve taken in young Koning, I’m so glad you won’t be living alone in your apartment. In Paris one is always suffering, like a cab-horse, and if on top of that you have to live alone in your stable it would be too much.
About the Independents’ exhibition, do whatever you see fit.
What would you say to showing the two large landscapes of the Butte Montmartre there? It’s all much the same to me, I’m inclined to place slightly more hopes in this year’s work.
There’s a hard frost here, and out in the country there’s still snow — I have a study of a whitened landscape with the town in the background. And then 2 little studies of a branch of an almond tree that’s already in flower despite everything.
Enough for today, I’m writing a note to Koning.
I’m really very pleased that you’ve written to Tersteeg, and I have hopes that this will be the renewal of your relations in Holland.
With a handshake to you and to any pals you may meet.