Vincent van Gogh - View of the Roofs of Paris 1886

View of the Roofs of Paris 1886
View of the Roofs of Paris
Oil on canvas 54.0 x 72.5 cm. Paris: late Summer, 1886
Amsterdam: Van Gogh Museum

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The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

To Michiel Antoine de Zwart. The Hague, Friday, 23 February 1883.
Dear Mr de Zwart,
Today I paid Giesenberg for the week ending last Monday, 19 Feb., and for that ending Monday, 26 Feb. — 6.20 guilders in other words.
I hope you see from this that I, for my part, also wish to cooperate.
This payment thus covers the period up to 1 March — except for approx. 10 guilders, which you know all about and which remain outstanding until I have the money. So 10 March is the date on which Giesenb. can first collect the 4.48 guilders, or let’s say 4.50, and then on the 1st, 10th and 20th of each month.
The alterations to the studio are most satisfactory as far as I can judge initially, and now the studio will be practical for the first time.
To tell you the truth, the studio was a fairly big disappointment these first few months, and was not what I had hoped, because there was too much light and reflection — something incidentally that you, as someone who makes drawings himself, will understand is not imagination on my part but a genuine drawback and obstacle.
This was a rather severe disappointment, and I haven’t worked with the enjoyment I could have had. Anyway, I am now beginning, however, to feel the same pleasure and hope about it as last summer when I saw it for the first time, but it has begun with a disappointment.
Now, as regards the little room in the attic — I should like to have that reasonably sound and solid so that it is agreeable to occupy, and practical, with a box bed.
So that the person who will be there can sit down if she wants to be alone, and will really get some benefit from it.
I understand, however, that I absolutely cannot ask such a thing of you at this point.
But still I would like to have it, and you yourself may well take the view that it is better to make something sound and permanent of it from the start.
Well, that is what I wanted to propose to you.

Paying the rent on time is already so difficult for me that I don’t dare promise you that I’ll pay extra for it.
But if need be I am willing to try to borrow some money for it, and if I manage to do this I would want to pay you all the arrears in March, say. But this would be the utmost I could do at the moment.
And since I am not absolutely sure whether I can get it, you need not make a start on it until I have paid you. But for my part I would object to taking the step of borrowing money if it were not for the little room.
And should like to hear from you sometime whether it would be acceptable to you if we agreed that you will make the room sound and solid with a box bed as soon as I have paid you all the arrears. I am not in great haste about this, and so should like to ask you if you could see, at your convenience, whether there might be wood available and then let me know what you think.
In expectation of that — yours respectfully.
Your servant
Vincent van Gogh