Vincent van Gogh - View of Montmartre with Windmills 1886

View of Montmartre with Windmills 1886
View of Montmartre with Windmills
Oil on canvas 36.0 x 61.0 cm. Paris: Autumn, 1886
Otterlo: Kröller-Müller Museum

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The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

To Theo van Gogh. The Hague, Wednesday, 2 or Thursday, 3 May 1883.
My dear Theo,
Your letter and the enclosure were most welcome, as always. And as always, thank you for them — I appreciate it all the more knowing so well that you yourself have many cares.
What you write concerning your patient is to some extent new and to some extent not. That you’ve written home about it, or rather will write, is something that will give you peace and is right. Naturally, I’ve never said a word about the matter, and you can rest assured that I won’t let on at home or elsewhere that I already knew something of it or am aware of more intimate details. And, I imagine, behave as if I first heard about it only recently, on a superficial level. But anyway, it’s unlikely that anyone will speak to me about it.
So rest assured on this point.
Well, I sincerely hope that everything happens as you have planned towards October, and am glad the time has come, sincerely glad both for you and for her. I think this is for the best — especially because I know details — when one meets each other like that one should never again part.
And I sincerely hope that this summer it will be possible for you to come to Holland with her. Who knows if precisely now some things to do with the woman may become clear to me too.
And so the Salon has opened. No doubt Messrs H.G.T. and C.M. will be paying you a visit one of these days. It’s now almost a year since I had the unpleasantness with him (i.e. with HGT). I shan’t cross his path again, I believe he realizes that too, and he can rest assured that I hardly ever think of what occurred. It seems to me, should H.G.T. say anything to you about me, that you should cut him off more or less in this manner: Has V. obstructed you since then or bothered you? — given that he hasn’t, you shouldn’t make things difficult for him. It’s rather disagreeable to me that I always have to avoid the house of G.&C. out of discretion, on account of that difficulty with H.G.T. You know what H.G.T. wrote about me to Pa that time, for example — well, so far he hasn’t retracted his view that I’d made it impossible for him to have anything further to do with me. It goes without saying that as long as he holds that opinion of me I won’t set foot inside the premises on the Plaats.

Not, however, that I’m afraid of meeting H.G.T., not because I want to hide from him or anything like that, but because I don’t want to give him offence.
If someone wants to have nothing to do with me, well I’ll help and try to avoid the few places where we might unintentionally bump into each other. Otherwise, don’t contradict such an opinion. From a certain point of view H.G.T. isn’t wrong — nonetheless, things could be viewed from another angle.
It could have been taken differently from the way in which His Hon. took it then. But that’s up to him. The reason I’m writing just a word about it is so that, supposing he speaks to you on the subject, you can tell him I no longer think about what happened other than that, to avoid what he might find indiscreet (given his plainly pronounced opinion of me), I refrain from going into the premises on the Plaats and shall continue so to refrain as long as he holds the opinion of me that he expressed to Pa.
For my part I gave my opinion of His Hon. to you then, but not as far as I remember to others, influenced by various circumstances that were most disagreeable for me (displeasure with Mauve5 &c.). I freely admit that as a result my judgement of him wasn’t correct either and, on condition that H.G.T. takes back what he wrote about me to Pa (that I had made it impossible for him to have anything further to do with me), I will take back my opinion that H.G.T. was to blame for disagreeable things that happened to me. If I express myself clearly enough, you may find in these thoughts something that could lead to more peace or better mutual understanding, which would be far from a matter of indifference to me. If I count from last May, Theo, this year hasn’t been exactly easy or free of care, eh. But that’s nothing; convenience or being without cares isn’t my ideal and goal either. Still, rather a lot has happened.
I find what you send not a little but a lot, yet although it was a lot — more even than you yourself could really go without — the woman and I have the devil’s own job to keep going and to make progress with the work and with housekeeping. Now it’s sometimes very unpleasant for me if relations are so strained that, for example, I must avoid the very people that one ought to meet in connection with the work, directly or indirectly. And I wish it was all cleared up.
Anyway, I’ve just about given up responsibility for that.
At the moment I have different kinds of work on my hands that I ought to carry through — and truly, I’m rather short. You write about Rappard — it’s so tiresome that he didn’t come when he wrote that he would — if I asked him to advance me something I’m sure he wouldn’t refuse me. For he himself proposed that to me this winter, but then he fell ill and we couldn’t correspond about the matter for which the money was to be intended, namely lithographs and drawings related to them. Then his father wrote, ‘my son is ill but I know about it, if you are hard up I shall advance you the amount in question’. I thought that was so good of R.’s father that I would have found it gross of myself if I had immediately taken it then. And so wrote, ‘no, let your son get better first’. Now R. did get better but I heard no more about it and he was absorbed in other work. And so that’s still pending and there’s always something that gets in the way of pursuing the matter. But I for one did carry on with it, namely drawing with printer’s ink, lithographic crayon, etc., and indeed incurred considerable costs. He isn’t in the least responsible for that, but I just mean that that’s all the more reason why he won’t refuse, I believe, to give me an advance.
So I’ll ask him — but am expecting a letter from him and some time will probably pass before I’ve explained the matter and got a reply, for he’s sometimes a lazy correspondent. When the money from you arrived this morning I had no money — that is, had been absolutely without a single cent for about a week. Furthermore, I had run out of drawing materials. I was in discussions with Smulders about a batch of drawing paper and took it, although the expenditure was inconvenient now — but I had to have it and other materials such as the engravers’ printer’s ink and lithographic crayon. And had to pay various things and stock up for the housekeeping. And had to pay models whom I had had in the meantime so that I could carry on working.
I’m terribly sorry to have to ask but if it’s at all possible send me another 10 francs, say. A week’s work depends on it, for I shan’t be able to get an immediate answer from Rappard, am already short of cash, and have appointments with models. If Rappard then sends me some, there will again be a phase when everything goes smoothly until there can be a breathing space once more. If you can send some, work will come off the stocks rapidly this week, and otherwise there’ll be nasty damage to the vessel. But forgive me, there was a combination of costs (all unavoidable) that I couldn’t quite cope with. And if you haven’t got it — well — we won’t starve as a result. The difficulties in small matters about small sums are sometimes truly perplexing, and this is such a case. I hope R. will be able to help me a little, for I’m in need of it, just as the field needs a shower when it has long been dry.
Well, again I wish you all good fortune as regards your patient. The weather here is delightful at times; no doubt it’s beautiful where you are too, and will do her good. Adieu.
Ever yours,