Nuenen – 1884, March

“It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to…. The feeling for the things themselves, for reality, is more important than the feeling for pictures.”

This is elaborated in detail found in the letter dating March, 1884 (Vincent was 30 years old) from Nuenen:

My strongest sympathies in the literary as well as in the artistic field are with those artists in whom I see the soul at work most strongly – Israëls, for example, is clever as a technician, but so is Vollon – but I like Israëls more than Vollon because I see something more in Israëls, something quite different from the masterly reproduction of the materials, something quite different from light and brown, something quite different from the colour – yet that something quite different is achieved by the precise rendering of the light effect, the material, the colour.


Vincent van Gogh wrote about Jozef Israëls who was a Dutch landscape painter with mastery in landscape. (Don’t know the other painter named Vollon (?) Click and find about Antoine Vollon – I know, I don’t like Wiki but it does the trick most of the times)

He was a leading figure of The Hague School. The story of Israels-family carries on after Vincent van Gogh’s death, when Jo-Bonger (Theo van Gogh’s wife) granted the Sunflowers painting to Isaac Israels which he made a homage paintings to Vincent van Gogh.

Isaac Israels Sunflowers Painting -> Click Here

Arles – 1888, July

Perhaps this is one of the most famous quotes by Vincent:
For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream. 
In another English translation, which I find to be more reflective of how Vincent van Gogh wrote in French:
For my own part, I declare I know nothing whatever about it. But to look at the stars always makes me dream.
as simply as I dream over the black dots of a map representing towns and villages. Why, I ask myself, should the shining dots of the sky not be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France? If we take the train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star. One thing undoubtedly true in this reasoning is this: that while we are alive we cannot get to a star, any more than when we are dead we can take the train.
From Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh.
Vincent was 35 years old and Theo was 31 years old.
In 1888, July, Arles.

1888 – October, Arles

Now, hope is vaguely beckoning on the horizon again, that flickering hope which used sometimes to console my solitary life.”

A depiction of Vincent van Gogh by Paul Gauguin, 1888, Arles

Written in October 1888 in Arles.

Vincent van Gogh wrote to Paul Gauguin whom he was hoping to live together.

Vincent tried in his power to convince Gauguin in order to create a place of gathering for fellow artists. But first, Gauguin was the main player that had enough sense and influence (at that time) over other Impressionists mostly gathered in Paris.

The quote is followed as such:

I should so much like to imbue you with a large share of my faith that we shall succeed in starting something that will endure.

When we have had a talk about those strange days spent in discussion in run-down studios and the cafés of the Petit Boulevard, you will understand the full scope of this idea of my brother’s and mine – as yet unrealized when it comes to setting up a society.

Still, you will appreciate that in order to remedy the terrible situation of the last few years something is needed, either along the precise lines we proposed or else very much like them.”