Vincent van Gogh - Self-Portrait 1889

Self-Portrait 1889
Oil on canvas 45.0 x 51.0 cm. Saint-Rémy: September, 1889
Private collection

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The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

Henriette Lamblot-Gaudin to Vincent van Gogh. Arles, Tuesday, 16 July 1889.
I have made enquiries in Paris about the book you ordered from me and they replied that it was out of print. If you want another volume, please give me the title, and I shall send it to you forthwith; if not, I shall return your money on your next visit to me. Yours faithfully,
H. Lamblot
successor to A. Jauffret.

Theo van Gogh to Vincent van Gogh. Paris, Tuesday, 16 July 1889.
My dear Vincent,
I was absolutely incapable of writing to you earlier, the heat was overwhelming, and I felt so weak that everything tired me out extremely. Now I’m more or less recovered, for good I hope. I thank you very much for your letters and for the beautiful drawings you sent. The Hospital at Arles is very remarkable, the Butterfly and the Eglantine branches are really beautiful too: simple in terms of colour and really beautifully drawn. The latest drawings look like they’ve been done in a fury and are a little more distanced from nature. When I see one of these subjects in a painting I’ll understand them more. I’ve had several people to see your paintings. The Pissarros, père Tanguy, Werenskiold, a Norwegian who has a lot of talent and who got the medal of honour in his country’s section at the World Exhibition, and Maus. The latter is the secretary of the Vingt in Brussels. He came to ask if you would exhibit at their next exhibition. There’s still time, but he didn’t know if he’d be coming to Paris beforehand. I told him that I thought you wouldn’t have anything against it. He’ll probably invite Bernard as well. People generally like the Night effect and the Sunflowers. I’ve put one of the Sunflowers on the mantelpiece in our dining room. It has the effect of a piece of fabric embroidered with satin and gold, it’s magnificent.

As from the 15th of this month I no longer have the rue Lepic apartment, and as it was absolutely impossible to store all the canvases at our place, I’ve rented a small room in père Tanguy’s house where I’ve put quite a few of them. I’ve made a choice of those which are to be taken off the stretching frames and then we’ll put others on them. Père Tanguy has already given me a lot of help, and it’s going to be very easy to let him continually have new things to show. You can imagine how enthusiastic he is about coloured things like the Vineyards, the Night effect, etc. I’d very much like you to be able to hear him sometime. I also forgot to say that De Haan has been here, he sent Jo a monster bouquet of poppies of all colours, never had I seen such a beautiful bouquet, and the rain of multicoloured leaves when they were beginning to drop their petals. He very much likes what you’re doing. He’s now with Gauguin. Isaäcson is all at sea now that De Haan is no longer there. I don’t know what he ought to do, but what he’s painting is poor! He talks about art better than he does it.
Gauguin is writing in a newspaper, which I’m sending you. He wrote to me last week and asked me to give him your address, which he’d lost. De Haan was saying that Gauguin has done some very fine things. You were unlucky when you went to Arles not to find Mr Salles, or Rey either. I’ve had a letter from the former. He’s at a little seaside place. Before receiving your letter in which you say to send him the Pilgrims at Emmaus I’d sent him the Angelus, lithograph by Vernier. I regret not having thought of the other subject, for it would have been rather more to his taste.
You can imagine how the news that Jo is pregnant excited her parents. Her father and mother are going to come here next week. Ma is also very pleased. It’s very true what you say, that her letter’s remarkable for her age. Yes, certainly it’s good that I’ve got married, for if it hadn’t been done I think I would be really ill now, while I think that now I’m going to regain strength and that I’ll be able to work a little better than I have done. Jo is really good to me, and yet she’s had some really bad days with vomiting etc., now it seems to be calming down and she looks well. If only the child is viable. I think that children generally inherit their parents’ kind of constitution rather than the latter’s state of health at the moment when they made it.
Andries Bonger would very much like to have a child, but it doesn’t come. His wife has a very difficult nature, and they have a lot of trouble getting by on the money he earns. Their household is far from cheerful. Yet his wife isn’t just anybody, but they can’t manage to see eye to eye. We don’t see them often, as they live very far from our place. I’ll finish my letter in haste. Enclosed is a postal order, for as you didn’t find Mr Salles you may need something. Warm regards, from Jo as well, and thank you very much again for your kind letters and the drawings.