Art: Promise Redeemed

Dear Theo,

Thanks for your letter. I was glad to hear you arrived home safely. I missed you the first few days; it was strange not to find you when I came home in the evening . . .

This note by the 19-year-old Vincent van Gogh, then a salesman in Goupil's art gallery in The Hague, to his younger brother Theo, 15, began the greatest correspondence in the history of art. Eighteen years and hundreds of letters later, it was to end with the letter found in Vincent's pocket after he had fatally shot himself with a revolver: "Well, the truth is,...

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