Vincent van Gogh - Two Cut Sunflowers 1887

Two Cut Sunflowers 1887
Two Cut Sunflowers
Oil on canvas on triplex board 21.0 x 27.0 cm. Paris: August-September, 1887
Amsterdam: Van Gogh Museum

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The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

To Theo van Gogh. Nuenen, early April 1884.
My dear Theo,
I send you herewith a croquis of a painting I’m working on with some others — this is an effect of trees in blossom in the late afternoon. There are 3 made of the same subject among the drawings that you’ll get as soon as Rappard gets here. What struck me in the scene was the astonishingly authentic and half old-fashioned, half rustic character of this garden. And the reason that I made no fewer than 3 pen drawings of the same little corner, as well as making several studies of it which I destroyed, was precisely because I wanted to convey this character in some intimate details that aren’t expressed easily or as a matter of course or by chance.

If, for my part, I have any self-confidence in my work, it’s also because it costs me too much effort for me to believe that one can’t gain anything by it or does it in vain. And yet again, I shrug my shoulders at the commonplaces into which most connoisseurs increasingly seem to be lapsing. Rappard had a couple of paintings that he saw a chance of finishing with a model that he could get, and has now written to me that he’s coming in May instead of right away, and might perhaps ask then if this visit could last a little longer if it were convenient here, because his plan is to make something else here.
I wish his arrival might coincide with yours.
You mustn’t, whatever you do, think that I have great expectations regarding the appreciation of my work — I believe one must be satisfied if one gets to the point where one can persuade a few people of the soundness of what one is striving for and is understood by them, without exaggerated praise. And the rest is a matter of, if something comes of it so much the better, but something that one should even think about as little as possible. But still I believe the work has to be seen, precisely because the few friends can settle out from the stream of passers-by. One doesn’t have to be guided by what the majority say or do, though. (Do you know that Aunt Bertha has been operated on for breast cancer?) Regards.
Yours truly,