Van Gogh, Vincent (1853 – 1890)

A letter from Van Gogh two months before his death

A three-page autograph letter signed by Vincent van Gogh (“Vincent”), undated (May, 1890), to Joseph Ginoux, proprietor of the Café de la Gare in Arles. Writing two months before his death, van Gogh opens, “This is to ask you to be so kind as to send my two beds, which are still with you, by goods train. I think it will be wise to empty the pallets, for buying new straw will not be more expensive than the money paid for the carriage. The rest of the furniture, goodess yes, there is the mirror, for instance, which I should like to have. Will you kindly paste strips of paper across the glass to prevent its breaking? But the two chests of drawers, the chairs, tables, you may keep for your trouble, and if there are extra expenses, please let me know. I greatly regret that I fell ill on the day I came to Arles to say goodbye to you all – after that I was ill for two months without being able to work. However, at present I am quite well again. But I am going to return to the North, and so, my dear friends, I vigorously shake your hands in thought, as well as the hands of the neighbours, and believe me when I say that over there I shall often think of you all, for what Mrs. Ginoux said is true – if you are friends, you a friends for a long time. If you should happen to see the Roulins, you will surely not forget to remember me to them. So I stop for now, hoping that Mrs. Ginoux has quite recovered from her indisposition…” When he wrote this letter, in may 1890, van Gogh was nearing the end of a twelve-month stay at the St. Rémy asylum. He had gone there seeking a cure for the mental disorders which had plagued him for the last several years.On July 27th 1890, van Gogh shot himself with a revolver. He died two days later.