Vincent van Gogh, letter to Émile Bernard,Paris, ca. December 1887, Letter 1, page 4
Thaw Collection, given in honor of Charles E. Pierce, Jr., 2007
too anemic or too agitated if you want to emerge from it stronger.
I do not see it as a very great misfortune for you that you have to join the army but as a very
grave ordeal, from which, if you emerge from it, you'll emerge a very great artist. Until then, do all
you can to build yourself up, because you'll need quite a bit of spirit. If you work hard that year, I
believe that you may well succeed in having a fair stock of canvases, some of which we'll try to sell
for you, knowing that you'll need pocket money to pay for models.
I 'll gladly do all I can to make a success of what was started in the dining room, but I believe
that the first condition for success is to put aside petty jealousies; it's only unity that makes
strength. It's well worth sacrificing selfishness, the "each man for himself," in the common interest.
I shake your hand firmly.
© 2007 Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam