I have now been painting at the academy for a few days, and
I must say that I like it pretty well. Especially because there
are all kinds of painters there, and I see them work in the
most varied ways, something I have never experienced before - I
mean seeing others work.
It would be by far the best thing for me to stay here a long
time, for their models are good, and it will save a great deal
of expenses of painting and models, and it is much more
difficult than you seem to know, especially if one works alone.
But let's hope that in this way things will improve.
Next Monday we shall get new models; in fact, then I shall
begin in earnest, and for Monday I ought to have had a large
canvas; they also told me that I must definitely have other
But I haven't any money left, so it is really pressing, and
I wish you would do what you can, for I am also doing what I
can, and almost all the time it is such that hardly anything is
left for food.
In the evening I also go there to draw, but I think the
fellows in the drawing class all work badly and in an
absolutely wrong way.
The painting class is better and, as I think I wrote you
already, there are all kinds of people and of all ages, about
five of them even older than I am.
I am working for the moment on a child's head.
It would be a relief to me if I could have your letter
before Monday. What I wrote you about the clothes I want is
also rather urgent. I have already made a few acquaintances who
have seen the things I had brought for the admission.
Among the studies of former pupils that are hanging there
are some damned good ones.
There are some by Neuhuys and Huibers among others.
But the best one perhaps is by an American, I do not know
the name. A nude study of an old man, one would say like a
Fortuny or a Regnault.
I do not think I can take a shorter cut to make progress,
and whether I go to the country afterward or to a studio in
Paris, at all events it is a good thing to see many others
paint, and specially to work regularly from the model as much
as ever is possible.
Goodbye, I write you in a hurry because I must get to work.
But try your best not to keep me waiting, for the work depends
on it, and I assure you in any case it will be hard enough for
With a handshake,
Ever yours, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 32 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written c. 22 January 1886 in Antwerp. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 446.
This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.