“My dear brother,
Thanks very much for your registered letter containing 150 francs, which arrived this morning. I also received canvases and colours from Tasset & Lhote
(were those from Tanguy
in the same consignment?), and I can’t thank you too much for them, for if I didn’t have my work I’d have sunk far deeper long since. At the moment the improvement is continuing, the whole horrible crisis has disappeared like a thunderstorm, and I’m working here with calm, unremitting ardour to give a last stroke of the brush. I’m working on a canvas of roses on bright green background and two canvases of large bouquets of violet Irises, one lot against a pink background in which the effect is harmonious and soft through the combination of greens, pinks, violets. On the contrary, the other violet bouquet (ranging up to pure carmine and Prussian blue) standing out against a striking lemon yellow background with other yellow tones in the vase and the base on which it rests is an effect of terribly disparate complementaries that reinforce each other by their opposition. These canvases will take a good month to dry, but the man who works here will take care of sending them after my departure. I’m planning to leave as soon as possible this week, and I’m starting to pack my trunk today. I’ll send you a telegram from Tarascon.
Yes, it seems to me, too, that there’s been a very long period between the day when we said our goodbyes at the railway station and these present days. But – strange thing again that, just as that day we were so struck by Seurat
’s canvases, these last days here are once again like a revelation of colour to me. My dear brother, I feel I have more confidence in my work than when I left, and it would be ungrateful of me to speak ill of the south, and I confess that it’s with great sorrow that I turn my back on it. If your work prevented you from coming to get me at the station, or if it was at a difficult time or if the weather was too bad, don’t worry, I’d certainly find my way, and I feel so calm that it would greatly astonish me if I lost my composure. How much I want to see you again, and meet Jo
and the baby
. It’s likely that I’ll arrive in Paris around 5 o’clock in the morning. But anyway, the telegram will tell you precisely. The day I leave depends on my having packed my trunk and finished my canvases, I’m working on the latter with so much enthusiasm that packing my trunk seems more difficult to me than doing the paintings. Anyway it won’t be long. I’m very glad that it hasn’t dragged on, which is always lamentable when one makes a resolution. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the Japanese prints,7
and also I don’t at all disdain seeing the Salon, in which it seems to me that there’ll be interesting things all the same, although having read Le Figaro’s account, indeed it leaves me more or less cold.
Warm regards to Jo
, and good handshake in thought.
To Theo. Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Sunday, 11 May 1890
The Comparitive Image is the painting Vincent did just after arriving at St. Remy in Spring of 1889 and noticing the irises in the asylum garden.
The Related Images both have the asylum irises in the foreground – one a drawing and the other a painting called Lilacs.
Painting, Oil on Canvas
Saint-Rémy: May 10, 1890
Van Gogh Museum
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Europe
F: 678, JH: 1977