From Boston Museum of Fine Arts:
In May 1890, van Gogh moved from the south of France to Auvers, northwest of Paris, painting many of his finest pictures there in a feverish spurt of activity before his suicide in July. Houses at Auvers shows the landscape of early summer. The view from above creates a flattened tapestry of shapes in which the tiled and thatched roofs of the houses form a mesmerizing patchwork of color.
Theo van Gogh to Vincent van Gogh. Paris, Wednesday, 22 January 1890.
My dear Vincent,
I’m very glad to know that you’re better and that the journey to Arles took place without bad consequences. I have various things to tell you, which will probably please you. First Lauzet came back to see your new canvases and his exclamation after seeing a few canvases was ‘This really is Provence’. He, who’s from those parts, knows the area and detests the sugary things the Montenards and others bring back from there. Moreover you’re going to be able to chat to the man himself, for last Saturday he left for Marseille for a fortnight, and on his way back he’ll do what he can to call in on you. If you see him, please tell him that I have another subscription to his Monticelli work, Artist’s proofs, that will please him. The other evening he was at our home again, and then we looked together at Amand-Durand’s work on the etchings by A. Dürer. You’ll see what an interesting fellow he is and how well-versed he is in modern literature. It appears that the exhibition of Les Vingt in Brussels is open; I read in a newspaper that the canvases which excite the greatest curiosity are the open-air studies by Cézanne, Sisley’s landscapes, Van Gogh’s symphonies and the works of Renoir. A new exhibition of the Impressionists is being prepared here for March, in the Ville de Paris pavilion. Everyone will be able to send along as many canvases as they want. Guillaumin is going to exhibit there too. Think whether you want to exhibit too, and which canvases. The exhibition of Les Vingt will be over by then. I think that if we can wait patiently until success comes, you will surely see it. One must make oneself known without wanting to impose oneself: this will come of its own accord through your fine works. As regards what you write about the future, try and see if a partnership couldn’t be entered into with Lauzet. You could, for example, look for a studio for the two of you, and you could come and have dinner and sleep with us. As regards the furniture, I fear that the transportation will cost at least what it’s worth, and I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be better to sell it in Arles. I’m finding out about the establishments in Holland which might be suitable, but I’ve already been told that they’re so full that it’s difficult to be admitted.
There’s Geel in Belgium, but I don’t know precisely what one must do to have oneself admitted. In any event I hope that you’ll come to us for a while to see our friends again and to see our little one. Jo is fortunately very well, we’re approaching the end now, for we hope that she’ll be delivered at the beginning of February. Wil is much better and looks extremely well. I would very much like her to find a way of getting married, but to whom? Isaäcson has left, and since he has a wife with a child in Amsterdam I don’t think that he’d be the man. He was to leave for the Transvaal but is still in Amsterdam. Next, what I consider a very bad side to him, he doesn’t do a damned thing. To hear him talk you’d say he works a lot, but if he shows something it’s quite inane. As regards painting, he has very little talent and I very much believe that he doesn’t have enough willpower to set himself seriously to work. Do you know that when I saw your olive trees again, I found them more and more beautiful, the one with the sunset is especially superb. How you have worked since last year, it’s prodigious. I’m curious to see the other Millets. A collection of facsimiles of original Rembrandt drawings has just been published in London. It’s superb, Seymour Haden is in charge of supervising the printing.
Unfortunately they sell at a really high price, 600 francs for the collection of 400 prints.
The Rev. Salles came to see us last Sunday, but unfortunately we’d gone out. I had very much wanted to see him at our home. I say ‘à bientôt’, look after yourself, and be of good heart.