To Theo van Gogh. Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, on or about Monday, 17 March 1890.
My dear Theo,
Today I wanted to try and read the letters that had come for me, but I wasn’t yet clear-headed enough to be able to understand them.
However, I’m trying to answer you straightaway, and am hoping that it will lift within a few days from now. Above all I hope that you’re well, and your wife and your child.
Don’t worry about me, even if it should last a little longer, and write the same thing to those at home and give them my warm regards.
Warm regards to Gauguin, who wrote me a letter for which I thank him very much, I’m terribly bored but must try to be patient. Once again warm regards to Jo and to her little one, and handshake in thought.
I’m picking up this letter again to try and write, it will come little by little, it’s just that my mind has been so affected – without pain, it’s true – but totally stupefied. I must tell you that there are – as far as I can judge – others who have this like me; who having worked during a period of their life are reduced to powerlessness even so. One doesn’t easily learn anything good between four walls, that’s understandable, but nevertheless it’s true that there are also people who can no longer be left at liberty as if they had nothing wrong with them. And so I almost or entirely despair of myself. Perhaps, perhaps I would indeed get better in the country for a time.
Work was going well, the last canvas of the branches in blossom, you’ll see that it was perhaps the most patiently worked, best thing I had done, painted with calm and a greater sureness of touch. And the next day done for like a brute. Difficult to understand things like that, but alas, that’s how it is. I have a great desire to get back to my work, though, but Gauguin also writes that he, who is nevertheless robust, also despairs of being able to continue. And isn’t it true that we often see the story of artists like that. So, my poor brother, take things as they are, don’t grieve on my account, it will encourage me and support me more than you think to know that you’re running your household well. Then, after a time of trial, perhaps days of serenity will return for me too. But in the meantime I’ll send you some canvases soon.
Russell also wrote to me, and I think it’s good to have written to him so that he doesn’t forget us completely – for your part speak of him from time to time so that people may know that although he works in isolation he’s a very good man, and I think he’ll do good things as one used to see in England, for example. He’s right a thousand times over to barricade himself in a little.
Give my regards to the Pissarros, later I’m going to read your7 letters more calmly, and hope to write again tomorrow or the day after.