Letter 1, page 3

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Vincent van Gogh, letter to Émile Bernard,Paris, ca. December 1887, Letter 1, page 3

Pen and blue ink on one vertically folded sheet of cream, machine-made laid paper

Thaw Collection, given in honor of Charles E. Pierce, Jr., 2007

MA 6441.1

desire for ourselves.

If, therefore, you have already considered that Signac and the others who are doing pointillism
often make very beautiful things with it—

Instead of running those things down, one should respect them and speak of them sympathetically,
especially when there's a falling out.

Otherwise one becomes a narrow sectarian oneself and the equivalent of those who think
nothing of others and believe themselves to be the only righteous ones.

This extends even to the academicians, because take, for example, a painting by Fantin-Latour
—and above all his entire oeuvre. Well then—there's someone who hasn't rebelled, and does that
prevent him, that indefinable calm and righteousness that he has, being one of the most independent
characters in existence?

I also wanted to say a word to you about the military service that you will be required to do.
You must absolutely see to that now.

Directly, in order to inform yourself properly about what one can do in such an event; first to
retain the right to work, to be able to choose a garrison, etc. But indirectly, by taking care of your
health. You mustn't arrive there

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© 2007 Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam