Enclosed you will find a few smaller photos of the studies
which you already have larger ones of.
I am sending them so that you may have something to show of
my work if the opportunity arises.
Rappard is still here, and will stay another week, as he is
up to his ears in his work.
He is painting spinners and several studies of heads; he has
already made about 10 studies, all of which I like.
We have been talking a good deal about impressionism. I
think that you would include his work under that heading. But
here in Holland it is rather difficult to find out what
impressionism really means. But both he and I are very
interested in the present-day trends. And it is a fact that
unexpected, new conceptions are beginning to arise. That
pictures are being painted in quite a different tone than some
The last thing I made is a rather large study of an avenue
of poplars, with yellow autumn leaves, the sun casting, here
and there, sparkling spots on the fallen leaves on the ground,
alternating with the long shadows of the stems. At the end of
the road is a small cottage, and over it all the blue sky
through the autumn leaves.
I think that in a year, if I again spend that year painting
much and constantly, my method of painting and my colour will
change a great deal, and that I shall become darker rather than
Rappard's work has also changed to a much lower gamut. The
effect of the heads he paints at present remind one of certain
studies of heads by Courbet, for instance. But it is damned
well done, I can assure you.
As a result of things I talked over with him, it may be that
I shall stay here and work on here rather than go elsewhere.
His visit has given me new ideas for my own work again, and
there are so many things in my mind which I should like to make
that, after all, I can hardly put off starting work on them.
Besides, I want to settle my bills for colours before New
Year's Day, and I can't afford any extra expenses.
For if I went to Antwerp, of course I should want to work
hard there, and should need models, which I am afraid would be
too expensive at the moment.
But in general Rappard too advises me to do it, not right
away, but after having painted here for a few more months, then
to get a pied-à-terre there to paint some studies from
the nude. But, if I paint some thirty studies of heads here
first I shall be able to get more out of Antwerp, and I am
starting on those thirty heads now, or rather I have already
done so by painting a large bust of a shepherd.
Rappard did the same this summer in Drenthe and in
Terschelling, and it has greatly helped him.
I just saw a reproduction after Lhermitte's “Le
Cabaret,” two workmen and a woman, do you know it?
Recently Rappard and I have made long excursions, and
visited house after house; we have seen the most beautiful
things, just because of the splendid autumn effects. And we
have discovered new models.
Perhaps some more painters will come to this neighbourhood
next year. I should be glad of it, for one must not go on
without seeing any other painters for too long a time. Well -
as to that - I am sure to get some new acquaintances ere long.
Best regards, also from Rappard.
Ever yours, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 31 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written late October 1884 in Nuenen. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 383.
This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.