Vincent van Gogh - Marguerite Gachet at the Piano 1890

Marguerite Gachet at the Piano 1890
Marguerite Gachet at the Piano
Oil on canvas 102.6 x 50.0 cm. Auvers-sur-Oise: June, 1890
Basle: Offentliche Kunstsammlung, Kunstmuseum Basel

« previous picture | Auvers-sur-Oise | next picture »

The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

To Anna van Gogh-Carbentus and Willemien van Gogh. Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Tuesday, 29 April 1890.
Dear mother and sister,
This is the first time that I can bring myself to write after 2 months’ indisposition. Until today I could bring myself neither to read your letters nor to write, and the doctor not being at home I can’t get the letters and a package from you today, but meanwhile I don’t want to put off thanking you most heartily for both. I sincerely hope that all is well with you both, and with Anna and Lies too. I wrote to Theo today and sent him several paintings, some of which he’ll probably send you. So I’ve been unable to work just at the best time in the spring, and so things aren’t going too well.

But what is a body to do about it? Not every change is for the better, but I’m really longing to get away from here; it’s hard to bear what one endures here. For a few days now I’ve been busy painting a field in the full sunshine with yellow dandelions. And while my illness was at its worst, I still painted, among other things a reminiscence of Brabant, cottages with mossy roofs and beech hedges on an autumn evening with a stormy sky, the sun setting red in reddish clouds. And a turnip field with women lifting turnips in the snow.
I’ve asked Theo to send me my old drawings, in so far as he still has them.
Do you still happen to have any of my old studies and drawings? Even if they’re no good in themselves, they can refresh my memory and provide information for new work, but I don’t, for instance, need the ones you have hanging up. They’re much more likely to be scratches of peasant figures. But it’s not important enough for you to spend a long time looking for them.
I sincerely hope you’re both well, and more soon.
Believe me, I think of you often, and embraced in thought.
Your loving

When I heard that my work was having some success and read that article I was immediately afraid that I’d regret it — it’s almost always the case that success is the worst thing that can happen in a painter’s life.