|Courtesy of www.VincentVanGogh.org|
My dear Theo,
You have so often afforded me a glimpse of Paris with your descriptions; this time for a change I am giving you a glimpse out of my window at the snow-covered yard.
I am adding a glimpse into a corner of the house, and they are two impressions of one and the same winter's day.
We are surrounded by poetry on all sides, but putting it on paper is, alas not as readily done as looking at it. I made a watercolor of the above, from which this small sketch is taken, but I don't think it is vivid and powerful enough.
I believe I've already written to you that I was able to find some mountain chalk here in the city. I am at work with that, as well. To my mind the cold spell we had last week was the most perfect part of this winter. It was fantastically beautiful, what with the snow and the curious skies. The thawing of the snow today was almost more beautiful still. But it was typical winter weather, if I may call it that - the kind of weather that awakens old memories and lends the most ordinary things the sort of look one cannot help associating with stories from the age of stagecoaches and post chaises.
Here, for example, is a quick little sketch I made in just such a dream-like state. It shows a gentleman who, having missed a coach or something of the sort, has had to spend the night in a village inn. Now he has risen early, and having ordered a glass of brandy against the cold, he is paying the landlady (a little woman in a peasant's cap). It is still very early in the morning, la piquette du jour - he must catch the post chaise - the moon is still shining and one can see the snow gleaming through the taproom window, and all the objects are casting curious, whimsical shadows. This story is really of no consequence, nor is the little sketch, but one or other may perhaps help you to understand what I mean, that is, that lately everything has a certain je ne sais quoi which makes one feel like getting it down quickly on paper. Still, the whole of nature is an indescribably beautiful Black & White exhibition during such snow effects.