It pleases me to be able to send you the enclosed wood
engravings. You will see that these too are somewhat damaged
along the folds, which is not caused by the forwarding but
rather by their having been so long in use in a public library.
But you will be able to paste them together, as I myself have
to do quite often. Please let me know whether you have a small
figure of a woman by McQuoid - she is holding a light in her
hand on the stairs of an armory, where one sees the glint of
armour. I think I have already given it to you, as well as the
“Girl in White” leaning against a tree, but if you
do not have it, I shall add it to another batch some time.
McQuoid is one of the most distinguished of the English
illustrators. I think you will also like the Renouards - later
on I may be able to add a few others, as the Jew told me he had
part of the kit of old magazines (from which I took these as
well as mine) at home; he had not brought them along because
they were too badly damaged. As soon as I have time, I am going
to hunt through that mess - which, by the way, is not a
Personally I think “The Strike of the Miners”
superb; I feel sure you will like it too.
I have taken a lot of trouble to get things about miners.
This and an English one of an accident are the most beautiful -
but for the rest these subjects are rare - I wish I myself
could make studies of them eventually. Do let me know, Rappard,
but in all seriousness, whether - if I went away - for instance
to the mining district of the Borinage for two months - you
would like to come with me.
It is rather a difficult stretch of country - such a journey
is not a pleasure trip - but it is one of those things I should
undertake with enormous pleasure as soon as I feel I have
gained more dexterity in drawing people in action with
lightning speed - for I know that there are so many beautiful
things to do which have hardly, if ever, been painted by
others. But because one has to contend with all kinds of
difficulties in such a district, it would not be superfluous to
have a friend along.
Anyway, at present my circumstances would not permit
it, but the thought is deeply rooted in my mind. Recently I
have been working often on the beach, either drawing or
painting. And I am more and more attracted by the sea.
I don't know what your experience has been with artists here
- more than once I have found that fellows started to abuse
most maliciously what they call “the illustrative,”
and this in a way that showed me quite clearly that they were
wholly unacquainted with the subject, and hadn't the slightest
idea of what is going on in this field. Moreover, they were not
to be convinced, or rather they did not choose to take the
trouble to look at things themselves. And when they did look,
it remained in their heads for only a short time, and then went
out of them radically.
Now I know from my experience with you that you think quite
differently about it.
The other day I found some other things by Lançon: a
“Soup Distribution,” a “Gathering of rag
pickers,” a “Snow-Cleaning Gang”; I got up
during the night to look at them again, so strong was the
impression they had made on me. 1
And especially as I myself am working at trying to do things
that interest me more and more - scenes in the street, the
third-class waiting room, on the beach, in a hospital - my
respect for those great black-and-white artists of the people,
as for instance Renouard or Lançon or Doré or
Morin or Gavarni or du Maurier or Ch. Keene or Howard Pyle or
Hopkins or Herkomer or Frank Hol, and countless others, is
Perhaps you feel the same way to some extent.
Well - however that may be - I always find it highly
interesting that you are working away at subjects that are so
very sympathetic to me, and at times I feel really sorry that
we live rather far away from each other, and have relatively
little contact with each other.
I have no more time to write now, so receive a handshake in
thought, and believe me,
Ever yours, Vincent
Herewith a very hasty sketch of a watercolour I am working
on [F 951, JH 197].2
See letter 229 to Theo, written on September 9, 1882
See also the illustration with letter 230 to Theo.
At this time, Vincent was 29 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Anthon van Rappard. Written c. 12-14 September 1882 in The Hague. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number R12.
This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.