To Theo van Gogh. Auvers-sur Oise, Saturday, 28 June 1890.
My dear Theo,
You could send the attached order for colours at the beginning of the month, anyway at the most convenient moment, there’s no urgency for a few days earlier or later. Yesterday and the day before yesterday I painted Miss Gachet’s portrait, which you’ll see soon, I hope. The dress is pink. The wall in the background green with orange spots, the carpet red with green spots, the piano dark violet. It’s 1 metre high and 50 wide.
It’s a figure I enjoyed painting – but it’s difficult.
He’s promised to get her to pose for me another time with a little organ. I’ll do one for you – I noticed that this canvas looks very good with another horizontal one of wheatfields, thus – one canvas being vertical and pink, the other pale green and green-yellow, complementing the pink.
But we’re still a long way from people understanding the curious relationships that exist between one piece of nature and another, which however explain and bring each other out. But a few, though, do feel it, and that’s already something. And then this has been gained, that in women’s clothes one sees very pretty arrangements of bright colours. If only one could have the individuals one sees pass by to do their portraits, it would be as pretty as any past era, and I even think that often in nature there is currently all the grace of Puvis’s painting, Between art and nature. Thus yesterday I saw two figures, the mother in dark carmine dress, the daughter in pale pink with a yellow hat without any ornamentation, very healthy figures, rustic, well tanned by the open air, burned by the sun, the mother especially with a very, very red face and black hair and two diamonds in her ears. And I thought again of that canvas by Delacroix, Maternal upbringing. For in the expressions on the faces there really was everything that there was in the head of George Sand. Do you know that there’s a bust-length portrait of George Sand by Delacroix, there’s a wood engraving of it in L’Illustration – with the hair cut short.
Good handshake in thought to you and Jo, and good fortune with the little one.