would be really a remarkable book if one could see how
much he (Vincent) has thought, and how he remained himself."
Letter of Theo to his mother, September 8, 1890
as Theo's young wife I entered in April, 1889, our flat in the Cité Pigalle
in Paris, I found in the bottom of a small desk a drawer full of letters from
Vincent, and week after week I saw the soon familiar yellow envelopes with the
characteristic handwriting increase in number.
After Vincent's death Theo discussed with me the project of publishing these
letters, but death took him away before he could begin to execute this plan.
Nearly twenty-four years passed after Theo's death before I was able to complete
Much time was necessary to decipher the letters and to arrange them; this was
the more difficult because often the dates failed, and much careful thought
was needed before these letters were fitted into their place.
There was another reason, however, which kept me from making them known earlier.
It would have been an injustice to Vincent to create interest in his personality
before the work to which he gave his life was recognized and appreciated as
Many years passed before Vincent was recognized as a great painter. Now it is
time his personality was known and understood.
May the letters be read with consideration.
January 1914 J. van Gogh-Bonger
above is from the preface of the three volume 1958 edition of "The Complete
Letters" in English. An introduction is written by Vincent Willem van Gogh,
Vincent's nephew and namesake, son of Jo(hanna) and Theo. Dr. van Gogh passed
away in 1978. Jo and her son devotedly worked all their lives to promote the
knowledge of Vincent, his oevre and his life.
Go next for a brief history of publication of the letters.