To Theo van Gogh and Jo van Gogh-Bonger. Auvers-sur-Oise, on or about Wednesday, 21 May 1890.
My dear Theo and Jo,
In the other letter I first of all forgot to give you the address here, which for the time being is: place de la Mairie, c/o Ravoux.
Then when I wrote to you I hadn’t yet done anything. Now I have a study of old thatched roofs with a field of peas in flower and some wheat in the foreground, hilly background. A study which I think you’ll like. And I perceive already that it did me good to go into the south the better to see the north.
It’s as I supposed, I see violets more where they are.
Auvers is decidedly very beautiful. So much so that I think it’ll be more advantageous to work than not to work, despite all the bad luck that’s to be foreseen with paintings. It’s very colourful here – but what pretty middle-class country houses there are; much prettier than Ville-d’Avray &c., to my taste. Appears that Dumoulin, the one who does Japan, was here but has left again.
If, towards the end of the week, you could send me some money, what I have will keep me going until then but I don’t have enough for any longer. I’d also ask you for 10 metres of canvas if that wouldn’t inconvenience you, but if it would inconvenience you, since it’s near the end of the month, you could send 20 sheets of Ingres paper.
I would need these anyway so as not to waste any time.
There’s a lot to draw here.
My dear fellow, upon reflection I don’t say that my work is good, but it’s the least bad that I can do. All the rest, relations with people, is very secondary, because I have no talent for that.
I can’t do anything about that.
Not working or working less would cost double, that’s all I can foresee IF we sought another way of arriving than the natural way, working – which we shan’t do.
Look, if I work, the people who are here will come just as well to my place without my deliberately going to see them as if I took steps to make acquaintances. It’s by working that people meet each other, and that’s the best way. Am moreover quite convinced that that’s your opinion and also Jo’s. I can do nothing about my illness – I’m suffering a little these days – it’s just that after this long seclusion the days seem like weeks to me.
I had that in Paris, and here too. But as work is proceeding a little, serenity will come. Whatever the case, I don’t regret coming back here, and things will go better here. Will be very pleased if in a little while from now you could come here one Sunday with your family. You’ll clearly see that to understand the countryside and the culture it only does one good to see other lands.
But I find the modern villas and the middle-class country houses almost as pretty as the old thatched cottages that are falling into ruin.
From what people say, Mrs Daubigny and Mrs Daumier are still living here, at least I’m sure that the former still lives here.
When you can do so, you might send me Bargue’s Exercices au fusain for a while,6 I absolutely need it, I’ll copy them to keep the copies for good.
Most cordial handshakes.