Vincent wrote in a letter to his sister Willemien:
‘If I didn’t have Theo it wouldn’t be possible for me to do justice to my work, but because I have him as a friend I believe that I’ll make more progress and that things will run their course’.
If we can be certain about one thing, it’s that Theo was Vincent’s best friend. But he could also count others amongst his friends. During his Dutch period, he had regular contact with Anthon van Rappard, a fellow artist with whom he sometimes went painting.
He got to know Emile Bernard and Paul Gauguin in Paris, and the friends regularly wrote to each other. They also exchanged paintings, works that have come to be known as the ‘friend portraits’.