Claude Monet to Georges Charpentier (A Desperate Plea)
I am literally penniless here, obliged to petition people, almost to beg for my keep, not having a penny to buy canvas and paints . . .
I had called on you this morning in the hope of arranging some small deal, no matter how small, so as not to go home with no money. I was unable to see you, and greatly regret it. I will send you a painting I think you will like. I ask you 150 francs for it, or, if that price seems to you too high, 100 francs, which I should be extremely grateful if you would send to me at Vétheuil, Seine-et-Oise. If the picture is not what you want, I will change it for another when I come back.
Thanking you in anticipation, your devoted
P.S. I felt I could ask you this because for a long time you had led me to hope you would buy something from me.
I want to ask if you would be good enough to lend me or send me five or ten louis, I am in terrible difficulties at the moment.
I have been ten days in Paris without being able to raise a penny, and I cannot go back to the country, where my wife is very ill.
You would do me a very great service by giving that sum to the bearer and as soon as I return to Paris for good I will call on you and repay you either in painting or in money.
I hope you will not refuse me.
[Editors note: Monet's struggles with money dominated much of his career. Only 3 years before this letter, Monet's good friend Edouard Manet schemed to monopolize on his poverty by secretely purchaseing his paintings en-masse.]