van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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 14 letters relate to food-and-drink - diet...Excerpt length: shorter longer  
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(9 October 1888)
... My dear Theo, Yesterday I sent you a wire asking you for another 20 francs, I shall have nothing but that for my food all the week, but I have my frames at last and some stretchers. Only don't let the next letter come later than Sunday, for it is a close, very close siege these days. But we will hold out, and I feel quite calm amid all the commotions we are passing through. At the very moment I was writing these words, I received notice of the arrival of Tasset's canvas. Great! The walnut frames go well with the studies. And I think that the next batch will be decisive, and that as for selling, we are getting very hot. Let's be sensible, and not forget for a minute that not only for our own sake but also for the success of this studio, we must get back the money spent during the unproductive years. We shall if we keep calm; besides, it is our due and we have suffered enough for it.
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(13 October 1888)
... He will need time to recover, I tell you. I assure you, I believe that if ideas for my work come swarming over me now, and more clearly too, eating decent cooked food has a lot to do with it, and that is what everyone who paints ought to have. What a lot of things there are that ought to be changed. Isn't it true that all painters ought to live like workmen? A carpenter or a blacksmith is accustomed to producing infinitely more than they do. And in painting too we should have large studios where each man would work with greater regularity.
Letter from Theo van Gogh to Vincent van Gogh
(27 October 1888)
... enough to live on than when you were alone. Why don't you try to get credit with some purveyor of food in case I am not there, as happened a short while ago, or if it is impossible for me to send the money at once? I am very happy that Gauguin is with you, for I was afraid that he had encountered some obstacle which prevented him from coming.
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(c. 6 November 1888)
... certainly find some interesting things. Gauguin and I are going to have our dinner at home today, and we feel as sure and certain that it will turn out well as that it will seem to us better or cheaper. So as not to delay this letter I will finish up for today. I hope to write again soon. Your arrangement about money is quite right. I think you will like the fall of the leaves that I have done. It is some poplar trunks in lilac cut by the frame where the leaves begin. These tree-trunks are lined like pillars along an avenue where to right and left there are rows of old Roman tombs of a blue lilac. And then the soil is covered, as with a carpet, by a thick layer of yellow and orange fallen leaves. And they are still falling like flakes of snow. And in the avenue little black figures of lovers. The upper part of the picture is a bright green meadow, and no sky or almost none . The second canvas is the same avenue but with an old fellow and a woman...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(c. 12 November 1888)
... He is very interesting as a friend, I must tell you that he knows how to cook perfectly; I think I shall learn from him, it is very convenient. We find it very easy to make frames with plain strips of wood nailed on the stretcher and painted, and I have begun doing this. Do you know that Gauguin is really partly the inventor of the white frame? But the frame of four strips nailed on the stretcher costs 5 sous, and we are certainly going to perfect it. It does very well, because the frame has no projection, and is one with the picture. Good-by for now, a handshake for you, and my compliments to the Dutchmen. Ever yours, Vincent Gauguin sends his greetings, and asks you to keep, out of the price of the first picture you sell, the amount necessary for the stretchers with screws that he wants, and also what Bernard will be asking you for a commission he gave him. ...

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