To Theo van Gogh. Paris, Monday, 31 May 1875.
My dear Theo,
Thanks for your letter of this morning.
Yesterday I saw the Corot exhibition. It included a painting of the ‘Mount of Olives’; I’m glad he painted that.
On the right, a group of olive trees, dark against the darkening blue sky; in the background hills covered with shrubs and a couple of tall trees, above them the evening star.
There are 3 Corots at the Salon, very beautiful, the most beautiful one, painted shortly before his death, ‘Women cutting wood’, will probably appear as a woodcut in L’Illustration or Le Monde Illustré.
I’ve also seen the Louvre and the Luxembourg, as you can imagine. The Ruisdaels in the Louvre are magnificent, especially ‘The bush’, ‘The breakwater’ and ‘The ray of sunlight’.
I wish you could see the small Rembrandts there, the ‘Supper at Emmaus’, and two pendants, ‘The philosophers’. I recently saw Jules Breton with his wife and two daughters. Physically he reminded me of J. Maris, though he has dark hair. When I have the chance I’ll send you a book of his, ‘Les champs et la mer’, which contains all his poems.
He has a beautiful painting at the Salon, ‘The feast of St John’, peasant girls dancing on a summer evening round the St John’s bonfire, in the background the village with its church and the moon above it.
Dance, young maidens, dance,
As you sing your songs of love!
Tomorrow, at break of day,
You’ll go, hastening to ply your sickles.
There are now 3 paintings by him in the Luxembourg. ‘Procession through a cornfield’, ‘Women gleaning’ and ‘Alone’.