Self-Portrait, by Vincent Van Gogh, 1889
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May 22, 2015 7:00 AM EDT

Van Gogh didn’t become popular until shortly after his death. To this day it’s unclear whether his letters drove the initial interest in his art.

The anthology Ever Yours: The Essential Letters, contains 265 of Vincent van Gogh’s letters, which is nearly a third of all the surviving letters he penned.

On the third of April, 1878, in a noteworthy letter to his brother Theo, van Gogh sheds light on his intentions about how to live.

Vincent believed that one must pay the price to achieve the kind of success that was deserved — “that a victory achieved after lifelong work and effort is better than one achieved more quickly.”

Living means we will inevitably experience sorrow and disappointment.

We must launch out into the great sea of life.

Ever Yours: The Essential Letters is a collection of some of Vincent van Gogh’s best letters which shed light on a remarkable talent and his artistic notions.

This piece originally appeared on Farnam Street.

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