Along with this letter you will receive the first proofs of
a lithograph, “A Digger,” and of a
lithograph of a “Man Drinking Coffee.”
I should like to hear as soon as possible what you think
of them. I still intend to retouch them on the stone, but I
want your opinion about them first.
The drawings were better. I had worked hard on them,
especially on the digger; now several things have been lost in
transferring them to the stone and in the printing. But I think
there is something rough and audacious in these prints that I
wanted there, and this partially reconciles me to losing things
which were in the drawing.
At all events, it shows that the ink gave strong black tones
where it caught; I hope to get better results with it later.
Then when the printer has more time, we shall make experiments
by bringing a kind of wash over it during the printing, and we
will try different kinds of paper and different kinds of
I hope these two stones will improve even more by retouching
in accordance with the two studies made directly from the
model, which I still have.
At last a painter has come to see me, namely Van der Weele,
who stopped me on the street, and I have also been to see him.
I hope he will also try this process of lithography. I wish he
would try it with two ploughs which he has - painted studies (a
morning and evening effect) and an oxcart on the heath.
That fellow has many fine things in his studio.
He wanted me to make a composition of my many studies of old
men, but I feel I am not ready yet.
You know, I wrote you about the series of diggers; now you
can see a print of them, too.
No news about the letter. Here at the post office they know
nothing about it, and put all the blame on Paris.
When your last letter came, after having had to wait so
long, I had to pay so much at once that little was left.
However, I have made those two experiments in lithography
again, notwithstanding the expense, because especially in hard
times I see in work the only safety, and I will fight to get
But today or tomorrow all my money will be gone. If it is
possible for you to send something, do so, if not, it is
neither your fault nor mine - but the days will be hard. Well,
quand même, we must keep heart as long as we can, and not
give away to melancholy or weakness.
There is a popular paper here called The Swallow, published
by Elsevier in Rotterdam, backed by the Society for General
Welfare. I have been wondering whether they could use such a
digger, for instance. An edition is published monthly. But it
would cost me a trip to Rotterdam, and I am so afraid I should
have to go home with the answer: Business is too slack, we
cannot take anything, etc. Besides, I should prefer not doing
so - I would much rather work longer, until I have put a good
series together. But as I am so frequently hard up for money, I
often think of trying to earn something. Que faire?
Even if you don't have the money, boy, do write, for I need
your sympathy, which is not worth less to me than the money. I
hope you received the roll with lithographs containing
“Sorrow” and the letter which accompanied it. I
mention it again to make sure, not because I had already
expected an answer.
The weather has been very cold here; today it is quite dark,
grey and gloomy, but it gives a rough aspect of non
ébarbé to everything.
Adieu, with best wishes and a handshake in thought, believe
Always yours, Vincent
In the drawing of the “Man Drinking Coffee,” the
black has been much more broken by the direction of the
hatching. Unfortunately, it has become dull now, but perhaps
that can be fixed.
At this time, Vincent was 29 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 22 November 1882 in The Hague. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 246.
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