I just send you my best wishes for the New Year. May it be a
good year for you in every respect, and egotistically I add,
for me too. Well, as for me it will perhaps please you to hear
that I am installed in a studio of my own - a room with an
alcove. The light is bright enough, for the window is large,
twice as large as an ordinary window, but it faces the
The furniture I have taken is in the real “village
policeman style,” as you call it; but I think mine is
more so than yours, although you invented the word. (I have,
for instance, real kitchen chairs, and a real strong kitchen
Mauve has lent me 100 guilders for rent and furniture, and
to have the window and light adjusted. You can imagine that
this is a load on my mind, but, well, it was the only possible
way, because in the long run it is much cheaper to have things
of your own than always to spend money for a so-called
Well, I had a lot of trouble getting everything, and before
I could arrange the furniture so as to make it do.
But now, boy, I have a real studio of my own, and I am so
I did not dare hope that it would happen so soon, but now I
am very glad, and I hope you also will approve of it.
Listen, you know that my expenses will be greater than in
Etten, but I shall try to struggle along. Mauve gives me great
hope that I shall soon begin to earn something. And now that I
am in a studio of my own, this will not make an unfavourable
impression on the persons who until now suspected me of
amateurism, of idleness, of sponging on others. I hope you will
be able to send me something these days. If I were greatly in
need and asked Mauve, he would not refuse me, but I really
think he has already done enough.
It happens that once in his life every man has to set up
housekeeping, and though at first I greatly dreaded the feeling
of being in debt, I feel after all it is better so.
We arranged that I shall work regularly from the model; it
is the most expensive and yet the cheapest way in the end.
De Bock does not improve on further acquaintance; he rather
lacks backbone, and he gets angry when one says some things
which are only the ABC. He has some feeling for landscape, he
knows how to put some charm into it (for instance, in a large
picture which he is making now), but one gets no hold on him.
It is too vague and insubstantial - du coton filé trop
fin. His pictures are the shadow of an impression, and in my
opinion that impression is hardly worth repeating so often.
I do not wish to associate much with other painters. Each
day I find Mauve cleverer and more trustworthy, and what more
can I want? I know now the direction in which I have to go, and
need not hide myself, so I shall not avoid meeting other people
- neither shall I seek them. Mauve and Jet send you their
Adieu, I sill have a lot to do, believe me,
Yours sincerely, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 28 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 1-2 January 1882 in The Hague. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 167.
This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.