Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (1-3 December 1881) ... the 100 fr. from you, I can manage.
And Mauve gives me hope that perhaps I shall soon make
something saleable. I can assure you that this simple sentence
of Mauve's pleased me more than a cartload of Jesuistical
compliments would have.
Perhaps Mauve will soon write you himself.
“Meanwhile” I have been to Amsterdam. Uncle
Stricker was rather angry, though he gave vent to it in more
polite words than “God damn you.” But nevertheless
I am not sorry I paid that visit.
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (c. 18 December 1881) ... little sketches after the two watercolours.
I confidently hope that I shall be able to make something
saleable in a relatively short time. Yes, I even think that
these two would be saleable in case of need. Especially the
one which Mauve has brushed a little. But I would rather keep
them myself for a time in order to remember better some things
about the way in which they were done.
What a splendid thing watercolour is to express atmosphere
and distance, so that the figure is surrounded by air and can
breathe in it, as it were. Now would you like me to make
another set of watercolours for you here? I ask no better, but
lodgings here, and the models and the paint and paper, etc.,
etc. - everything costs money, and I have nothing left. So at
all events send me word by return mail, and if you wish me to
stay, send me some money if possible.
I think I shall make better progress now that I have learned
something practical about colour and the use of the brush.
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (21 January 1882) ... long
before my work becomes saleable.
Mr. Tersteeg himself said something about it, and if some of
those smaller ones turn out well, he will probably buy some.
And I have completed still further the drawing of the little
old woman which I sent you a sketch of, and someday it will
Believe me, I work, I drudge, I grind all day long, and I do
so with pleasure; but I should get very discouraged if I could
not go on working as hard or even harder. If you write to Mr.
Tersteeg about it, he will certainly credit you for an amount
which you yourself fix, and he can control its expenditure if
he does not trust me. But it would be terrible if I couldn't go
on working the way I have these last three weeks.
As to the size of the drawings or the subjects, I will
readily listen to Mr. Tersteeg's and Mauve's suggestions. I
undertook some large ones recently because I wanted by all
means to get rid of the dryness in last summer's studies. And
now Mauve said to me last...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (13 February 1882) ... The Hague and that he would come to see me.
Last summer Uncle Cent also told me that whenever I had
finished a drawing somewhat smaller than those I was doing and
more watercolours, I must send them to him and he would buy
them. Perhaps the time is really not far off when I shall earn
some money with my work; I need to very much, for no other
reason than to go on working seriously.
You must tell me if you can find out what kind of drawings
the magazines would take. I think they could use pen drawings
of types from the people, and I should like so much to make
something that is fit for reproduction; I do not think that all
the drawings are made directly on the blocks - there must be
some means of getting a facsimile on the block. But I do not
know exactly what process is used. Sometimes I long so much to
see you and have a talk with you. Will it be long before you
can come to Holland? I think that Father rather expected you on
I was very glad that Mr. Tersteeg...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (13 February 1882) ... that I have seen your
I do not care so much about that “taking my
part,” but I must say that sometimes I cannot bear
Tersteeg's saying to me over and over again, “You must
begin to think about earning your own living.” I think it
is such a dreadful expression, and then it is all I can do to
keep calm. I work as hard as I can and do not spare myself, so
I deserve my bread, and they ought not to reproach me with not
having been able to sell anything up to now.
I tell you these details because I do not understand why you
have neither written nor sent me anything this month.
Is it possible that you have heard something from Tersteeg
that has influenced you?
I can assure you once more that I work hard to make progress
on things which would be easy to sell, that is, watercolours,
but I cannot succeed immediately. If I succeed in making them
by and by, it would still be rapid progress, considering the
short time I have been working....