[PW] ? Van Gogh Quote (Quotation Query #735)

S M Colowick januarye at gmail.com
Sat Feb 13 17:49:53 PST 2016

On Sat, Feb 13, 2016 at 5:24 PM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:
> Anne Sexton's poem "The Starry Night" has an epigraph:
> That does not keep me from having a terrible need of - shall I say the word - religion. Then I go out at night to paint the stars.
> - Vincent Van Gogh in a letter to his brother
> Does this quotation actually appear in Van Gogh's letters?  If so, can someone supply me with a precise citation?

No. 691 (Brieven 1990 695, Complete Letters 543)
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Arles, on or about Saturday, 29 September 1888

"Cela n’empêche que j’ai un besoin terrible de, dirai je le mot – de
religion – alors je vais la nuit dehors pour peindre les étoiles et je
rêve toujours un tableau comme cela avec un groupe de figures vivantes
des copains." = "That doesn’t stop me having a tremendous need for,
shall I say the word — for religion — so I go outside at night to
paint the stars, and I always dream a painting like that, with a group
of lively figures of the pals.


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