I wish my ancestors had hung out with the bohemian crowd. Perhaps then our family papers would sport artistic doodles as well as pickle recipes.
Wouldn’t you love to discover an illustrated letter from Edouard Manet? He wrote this to Eugène Henri Maus in 1880.
Using my computer’s translation software and my remaining shreds of high school French, I’ve cobbled together a rough translation below. But if you’d like to read a transcription in the original French, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website.
The piece is called “A Letter to Eugene Maus, Decorated with Two Apples.” However, the more detailed description on the same website says the painting is of yellow-green plums called mirabelles. Take a look at the photo below of mirabelles and decide for yourself: apples or plums?
“My dear Maus,
It was imprudent to tire you by a long voyage. But finally since you are again in good health, there was little harm done. I am sure that you will be tip top to the top without delay, and I don’t doubt completely healthy. I continue to be content with my stay at Bellevue. I also have high and low points, but it’s fine and I intend to remain here until sometime between the end of October or November 15. I work little or not at all; it’s constantly raining or windy. I hope when the weather is sunny that I will work feverishly and make up for lost time.
I sent to Ghent a painting for the exhibition at Father Lathuile’s. I do not count on success, all I ask is that it be sold to help cover expenses. I remember the amount you quoted to me a long time ago; it must belong to a merchant. Let me know what’s new with you and your friends from time to time.
As for a seaside resort where you will find showers, doctors, etc, I recommend you to Berck-on-Mer.”