I have just received your letter and the enclosed 50 fr.,
for which my warm thanks. A few small watercolours are again
As you will remember, when you were here, you spoke about my
someday trying to send you a little drawing of a
“saleable” nature. However, you must excuse my not
knowing exactly when a drawing is, and when it is not, that
kind. I used to think I knew, but now I perceive daily that I
Well, I hope this little bench, though
perhaps not yet saleable, will show you that I am not averse to
choosing subjects sometimes which are pleasant or attractive
and, as such, will find buyers sooner than things of a more
I enclose with the little bench another one as a pendant [JH
195], also a part of the wood. I struck off the little bench
after the larger watercolour I am working on, in which there
are deeper tones, but I do not know whether I shall succeed in
finishing it well [JH 196]. The other sketch is after a painted
Now I should like to hear from you if this little drawing is
more or less the kind we spoke about. I send it to you because
I should not want you to think I had forgotten, but later I
hope to send you some better things.
You remember I wrote you in my last letter that I was going
to the potato market.
I brought home many sketches that time, it was
extraordinarily intriguing - but it may serve as an example of
The Hague public's politeness towards painters that suddenly a
fellow from behind me, or probably from a window, spat his quid
of tobacco onto my paper. Well, one has trouble enough
sometimes. But one need not take it so very seriously; those
people are not bad, they do not understand anything about it,
and probably think I am a lunatic when they see me making a
drawing with large hooks and crooks which don't mean anything
Recently I have also been very busy drawing horses in the
street. I would love to have a horse for a
model sometime. Yesterday, for instance, I heard someone behind
me say, That's a queer sort of painter - he draws the horse's
ass instead of drawing it from the front. I rather liked that
I love to make those sketches in the street, and as I wrote
you in my last letter, I certainly want to reach a sort of
perfection in it.
Do you know an American magazine called Harper's Monthly?
There are wonderful sketches in it. I myself know it only
slightly. I have seen only six numbers, and possess but three
of them. But there are things in it which strike me dumb with
admiration, including “Glassworks” and
“Foundry,” all scenes from factories. And also
sketches of a Quaker town in the olden days by Howard Pyle. I
am full of new pleasure in those things, because I have new
hope of making things that have soul in them myself.
What you write about the money you lent and did not get back
is indeed a calamity. I still have to pay for some colours, and
have to buy more, so that by September 20 I shall certainly be
short. But I am going to vary the work a little, and try to
make both ends meet. But please remember that a little extra
money will help me make extra progress - more than would
otherwise be the case.
One needs so many things and everything is so expensive.
But, at all events, I am doubly thankful to you, and feel I am
so much luckier than the others because of the money I receive
from you; and I assure you that I try very hard to make
Today I shall again go to the usual Monday market, to try
and make some sketches when they are pulling down the
Adieu, good luck in everything, write me soon and know that
I always love to read a description like the one of
I am messing around so much with paint that there is even
paint on this letter. I am busy with the large watercolour of
I wish it would turn out well, but the great trouble is to
keep the correct form together with depth of tone; and it is
very difficult to keep clear.
Once more adieu, a handshake in thought, and believe me,
Yours sincerely, Vincent
Thank you very much for sending me the money when you
yourself are so very hard up. I doubly need it because autumn
will be over so soon, and it is the most beautiful season for
At this time, Vincent was 29 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 11 September 1882 in The Hague. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 230.
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