Friday, July 30, 2010

Vincent, to Theo

...the truth is, we can only make our pictures speak.  But still, my dear brother, there is this that I have always told you, and I repeat it once more with all the earnestness that can be imparted by an effort of a mind diligently fixed on trying to do as well as one can--I tell you again that I shall always consider that you are something other than a simple dealer in Corot, that through my mediation you have your part in the actual production of some canvases, which even in the cataclysm retain their quietude.

For this is what we have got to, and this is all or at least the chief thing that I can tell you at a moment of comparative crisis.  At a moment when things are very strained between dealers in pictures by dead artists, and living artists.

Well, my own work, I am risking my life for it and my reason has half-foundered owing to it--that's all right--but you are not among the dealers in men so far as I know, and you can choose your side, I think, acting with true humanity, but what's the use?
That's Vincent Van Gogh, to his brother Theo (who was also his dealer).  Vincent was buried this day in 1890 in a small cemetery in Auvers in the south of France.*  Vincent had died the day before, a suicide.  The quotation above is the text of a letter found in his pocket after he shot himself.
*Looks like my knowledge of Van Gogh is pretty superficial.  Auvers is "a commune in the northwestern suburbs of Paris."

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