I just received your letter, for which I thank you. Once
again I am pleased to see from it that you enjoy the wood
engravings. Furthermore I respect your point of view with
regard to what I sent you now and then, something I hope to go
on doing unless you should object. But I am confronted with a
difficult problem, which I can't really solve, though I am
going to anyway, namely telling you what I have paid for them.
As you know, I have a special penchant for wood engravings.
Usually I buy them very cheap, yet I spend rather much on them,
considering my circumstances - although I have never regretted
it. But whether I paid much or little for them is a question
entirely of what I sent you, for I sent you duplicates, and not
one that I did not have myself - you saw that for yourself last
summer, when we sorted out the duplicates.
What I sent you I did not buy expressly for you - with a few
exceptions, and I spent very little money on these few, and I
only wish I could find more of them. But as you insist on it, I
shall charge you, let us say, a daalder [1.50 guilders]
for them, which you can remit any time, for instance in stamps,
and then you need no longer have any pangs of conscience about
having injured me financially.
So I think that question is settled.
Now I have asked you to let me know if you are receiving
regularly magazines such as L'Illustration and the Graphic - I
mean the current issues. I mention this because I am
negotiating with a man who has a number of magazines from a
public library for sale. I have decided to take them in any
case, but I have some of the current year already, so I shall
probably get some more duplicates. For example, if these are
from L'Illustration and I know you have them already, I want to
give them to someone else who might like them and is collecting
them (although for the moment I don't know of anyone). But if
I know you do not have them, they are yours of course.
Even before I received your letter I agreed to take the lot
- so please let me know how you stand with regard to current
Of course I don't know whether I'll have a small or large
number of duplicates, but at any rate there will be some, I
think. So please let me know. If it amounts to
anything, I will charge you something for it, or we can make an
arrangement some time or other, but let me know if I can be of
use to you in this respect. I am greatly interested in your
collection, and I should like to see it become a very beautiful
one. Perhaps I shall be able to send you more important things
I already have forty larger and smaller sheets by Renouard.
For instance, I found some time ago his “La Bourse”
[The Exchange] and “Un Discours de M. Gambetta,”
and also sheets called “Enfants assistés.”
But I am sure you will be delighted with some large
Caton Woodville too is very clever; the more I see of his
work, the better I like it.
Do you know Monthard? - I think that at any rate you have
some of his landscapes - well, a short while ago I got some
sketches of his from Ireland and also from Jersey, in which
there was a great deal of sentiment.
I sincerely hope you will derive pleasure from your picture
at “Arti”; I don't think I shall see this
I am very busy working on drawings of an
orphan-man, as these poor old fellows from the
workhouse are popularly called here. Don't you think the
expressions “orphan-man” and
“orphan-woman” characteristic? It is not
easy to do those characters one is always meeting in the
As for watercolours, I have started several, but I have not
been as successful with them as I should wish, although I enjoy
doing them more than formerly. Herewith another rough sketch of
an orphan-man. Adieu, I am writing in haste -
please let me know soon how you stand with regard to those wood
engravings 1 - whether you have them or not.
With a handshake,
Ever yours, Vincent
Vincent regularly uses the Dutch word for
“woodcuts,” but he usually means wood
[Sketch `Orphan man seen from Behind', JH 214, enclosed in
At this time, Vincent was 29 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Anthon van Rappard. Written 22 or 23 September 1882 in The Hague. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number R14.
This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.