About a week ago I sent you a little roll of wood engravings
with a letter enclosed. Since then I have taken the Graphics
There was a preponderant reason that made it desirable.
Looking through twenty-one volumes is a job that takes up too
much time. Of course, there is a whole lot in it that leaves me
indifferent and is only useless rubbish.
I think it desirable, moreover, to keep the things by Small
or Herkomer, or Green or Frank Hol, for instance, together,
instead of having them scattered among things that do not match
them in the least. When one has taken out only the best and
most characteristic sheets, it is possible to get a general
view of them within a few hours. And one does not need a long
time to hunt up a particular thing.
And so I have done it after all. And I have already sorted
those I have taken out too - but I haven't mounted them
The bindings of the volumes can now serve as portfolios, and
I am going to complete the collection of Graphic wood
engravings by adding all the other things I have already.
It means a lot of drudgery but it certainly is stimulating
work - for I count myself a lucky fellow to have something so
pleasant around the studio, now and forever.
Of course I have quite a number of duplicates available.
I have another kind of drudgery on my hands; the fact being
that I have started a sort of battle with my landlord to get a
number of privileges - I mean alterations in the studio. And of
course it is not easy to get him to do something.
And yet - I made a pact with him just now by which he
granted me at least some of these privileges. He does not find
it easy to get tenants for his houses, and what I asked him for
was wood which he had no immediate need for.
I assure you it is quite an advantage, for the studio will
gain a lot by it. Well, I am glad I attacked him. I got the
idea of starting a fight with him while reading Fritz Reuter's
Ut mine Festungstid - perhaps you know the book - in which
there is the highly funny story of the way in which Fritz R.
and others who had been sentenced to detention in a fortress
tricked the "town major" into granting them all kinds of
Speaking of Reuter, don't you think that the figure of
Bräsig in Dried Herbs 2 is glorious - and his
Havermann? I think it as beautiful as anything by Knaus and
I have been working recently on large figures (busts, or
rather figures down to the knees), which are intended as
staircase wall decorations. Six pieces on cardboard in black
It will be much easier to look through the wood engravings
whenever you come here. You will be interested, for instance,
in Boyd Houghton's “Mormons,”
“Indians,” some London sketches and a number of
sheets about “Paris during the Commune,” perhaps
thirty pieces in all. And some large compositions,
“Emigrants” and “Mormon Prayer
I now have seven large sheets by du Maurier - first and
foremost “Dieppe Harbor,” the finest of them all -
you know it - and then “Musical Rehearsal,”
“Rival Grandpas” and “Before Dinner” -
now in the Graphic portfolio “Battle-dore and
Shuttlecock,” “Sketch in the Monkey House”
and “Cricket Match.”
But there is also a “Ladies' Boarding School,”
which I do not have; perhaps it occurs in the very first
numbers of the Graphic.
Otherwise I have never seen any large compositions by him.
The series is done by du Maurier and Miss Edw. Edwards M. E.
F., and the latter has some sheets in it that are almost as
beautiful as those by du Maurier himself.
Do you know J. D. Linton (monogram JDL)? A crowd of females
(during some “Commune”) he has drawn is superb.
“Jewish Synagogue,” “Tower” etc., are
also very striking. But you will greatly enjoy the Ch. Greens,
large sheets, including a “Hospital” - benches full
of patients - which is excellent.
I am writing you because there was a letter in the little
roll of wood engravings I sent you (which is really prohibited)
- in it I thanked you for your package - and because of this
you might not have got it.
Is your recovery progressing? And have you gone back to your
work completely? Adieu - write soon. I did receive your little
roll, but no letter.
Ever yours, Vincent
See letter 268 to Theo.
The name of the Dutch translation of Reuter's complete
works. Vincent means the novel Ut mine Stromtid, in
which “Uncle Bräsig” is a conspicuous
At this time, Vincent was 29 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Anthon van Rappard. Written c. 18-20 February 1883 in The Hague. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number R27.
This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.