Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (Aug/Sep 1881) ... have a souvenir from my little
At Stam's I found Ingres paper twice as thick as the
ordinary kind, one can work better on it. But alas, it's white.
Would there be any chance of your sending some of that same
kind, but the colour of unbleached muslin or linen? Like a few
of the sheets that were in that lot you bought me before, and
like those on which the Exercices au Fusain are printed. Before
beginning to draw on the white paper, one must first wash the
whole page with a flat tone.
So I have been to The Hague; perhaps it was the beginning of
a renewed and closer acquaintance with Mauve and others. I hope
so. A handshake in thought; my warm thanks for your faithful
help in this matter - because of the expenses perhaps I never
would have gone, or at least postponed it.
De Bock was very pleased with the drawings by Millet which
he bought from you.
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Anthon van Rappard (12 October 1881) ... of diggers, sowers, etc., men and
women. At present I am working a good deal with charcoal and
black crayon, and I have also tried sepia and watercolour.
Well, I do not venture to say that you will see progress in my
drawings, but most certainly you will see a change.
Before long I hope to be able to pay another visit to Mauve
to discuss with him the question of whether I should start
painting or not. Once started, I shall carry it through. But I
want to talk it over with some people before starting. More and
more I am glad that I have specially set my mind on drawing
figures. For most certainly it indirectly influences landscape
drawing, because one learns to concentrate.
I should have liked to send you a few sketches, if I'd had
time, but I am busy with all kinds of things; later on,
however, you will get some. In case you do not stay in Holland,
please be sure to let me know your address, for in any case I
shall have quite a few things to write about during the winter.
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (c. 21 December 1881) ... my best to find a
good studio, and besides, I must start using better paint and
better paper now.
For studies and sketches, though, the Ingres paper is
excellent. And it works out much cheaper to make my own
sketchbooks in various sizes from that than to buy the
I still have a small supply of Ingres paper, but if you
could include some more of the same kind when you send those
studies back to me, I should be greatly obliged to you. Not
snow-white, but rather the colour of unbleached linen, no cold
Theo, what a great thing tone and colour are. And those who
fail to learn to have feelings for them will remain far removed
from real life. M. has taught me to see so many things that I
used not to see and one day I shall try to tell you what he has
told me, as there may well be one or two things you do not see
properly either. Anyway, I hope we'll have a good discussion
about artistic matters some day.
And you cannot imagine the feeling...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (22-24 December 1881) ... days at
Prinsenhage and will also come here. You must know, Theo, that
Mauve has sent me a paintbox with paint, brushes, palette,
palette knife, oil, turpentine - in short, everything
necessary. So it is now settled that I shall begin to paint,
and I am glad things have gone so far.
Well, I have been drawing a good deal recently, especially
studies of the figure. If you saw them now, you would see in
what direction I am going. Of course, I am now longing to hear
what Mauve will have to say. The other day I made some drawings
of children, too, and liked it very much.
These are days of great beauty in tone and colour; after I
have made some progress in painting, I will succeed in
expressing a little of it. But we must stick to the point, and
now that I have begun drawing the figure, I will continue it
until I am more advanced; and when I work in the open air, it
is to make studies of trees, viewing the trees like real
figures. I mean especially with a view to the...