I received in good order the prints, etchings, etc., which
you sent me some time ago, and I thank you very much. You did
me a great service by sending them.
I can tell you that I have sketched the ten sheets of
“Les Travaux des Champs” by Millet (almost the size
of a page in Cours de Dessin Bargue), and that I have
completely finished one. I should have done more, but first I
wanted to make the Exercices au Fusain by Bargue, which Mr.
Tersteeg has kindly lent me, and I have now finished the sixty
sheets. In addition, I have made a drawing of “Evening
Prayer,” after the etching which you sent me.
I wish I could show them to you and get your opinion of all
this, as well as of some other drawings - for instance, a large
sepia drawing after Th. Rousseau, “Four dans les
Landes.” [Oven in the Landes - vast plain south of
Bordeaux.] I had already done it twice in watercolour before I
succeeded in finishing it. As I told you before, I should like
very much to copy “Le Buisson” by Ruysdael too; you
know those two landscapes are in the same style and
Mr. Tersteeg and also you have come to my aid with good models,
for at present I think it is much better to copy some good
things than to work without this foundation. Yet I could not
keep from sketching in a rather large size the drawing of the
miners going to the shaft which I sent you a hasty sketch of,
though I changed the placement of the figures a little. I hope
that after having copied the other two series by Bargue, I
shall be able to draw miners, male and female, more or less
well, if by chance I can have a model with some character; and
as to that, there are plenty of them.
The lithograph after Bosboom's “Interior of a
Cowshed” is very beautiful. You understood my intentions
perfectly when you added “La Malaria” by
Hébert to the collection.
If you still have the book with the etchings after Michel,
please lend me that sometime, too, but there is no hurry. For
the moment I have enough to keep me busy, but I should like to
see those landscapes again, for now I look at things with
different eyes than I did before I began to draw.
I hope that you will not be too dissatisfied with the
drawings after Millet when you see them; those little wood
engraving are admirable.
As I already have twenty prints after Millet, you can
understand that if you could send me some more, I would make
them readily, for I try to study that master seriously. I know
that the large etching of “The Diggers” is rare,
but be on the lookout for it, and tell me what it will cost.
Someday or other I shall earn a few pennies with some drawings
of miners; I should like to have that print and “Le
Buisson” as soon as I am able to buy it, even if it is
rather expensive. The other day I bought for 2.50 francs two
volumes of the Musée Universel, in which I found a large
number of interesting woodcuts, including three of
I cannot tell you the pleasure Mr. Tersteeg gave me by
letting me have the Exercices au Fusain and the Cours de Dessin
Bargue for a while. I worked almost a whole fortnight on the
former, from early morning until night, and daily I seem to
feel that it invigorates my pencil. With no less eagerness - in
fact, more - I am now copying “Les Travaux des
Champs.” I am now working on “The Sheep
Once more my heartfelt thanks for having sent them;
everything you can find by that artist will be of the greatest
use to me. I have already drawn “The Sower” five
times, twice in small size, three times in large, and I will
take it up again, I am so entirely absorbed in that figure.
Whenever you write to me (which would be a very welcome
distraction), could you tell me something about the etchings by
A. Legros? If I remember correctly, I saw a dozen of them in
England, and they were very beautiful. This is all for today.
Thanking you again, and with a handshake,
Accept my congratulations on the occasion of September
C/o Charles Decrucq,
3 Rue du Pavillon,
Cuesmes, near Mons
These are the Millets I have:
Reapers Binding the Sheaves
Woodcutter and his Wife in the Wood
Fields in Winter
Les travaux des Champs, 10 sheets
The Four Hours of the Day, 4 sheets
Do you still have an old woodcutter alone in the wood in
your collection of wood engravings?
At this time, Vincent was 27 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 7 September 1880 in Cuesmes. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 135.
This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.