van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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 16 letters relate to lifestyle - appearance...Excerpt length: shorter longer  
Letters from his Parents to Theo van Gogh
... help of the best tailor from Breda. Would you be so kind as to do another work of mercy and have his chevelure metamorphosed by a clever hairdresser - here in Etten we don't have such people. I suppose a barber of The Hague might be able to do something about it, therefore try to coax him into coming with you to one. It is not clear how we will manage; the teacher costs 1.50 guilders per lesson, and every day a lesson makes nine guilders per week, and lessons in other subjects will probably also be necessary. We insist that Vincent pays visits to Tersteeg, Haanebeek and Mauve. Please collaborate! We hope Mrs. Tersteeg will be all right. Vincent hopes to arrive in The Hague on Monday afternoon around six o'clock. We wish him all the best! Mrs. van Gogh to Theo. 7 June 1877
Letters from his Parents to Theo van Gogh
... hello mother,” and there he was. We were glad; although seeing him again we found he looked thin; that is over now; it must have been the walking and bad food etc. - things, by the way, he does not talk about, but he looks well, except for his clothes.
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(c. 15-27 April 1882)
... more difficulty and opposition I shall meet. Because I shall have to suffer much, especially from those peculiarities which I cannot change. First, my appearance and my way of speaking and my clothes; and then, even later on when I earn more, I shall always move in a different sphere from most painters because my conception of things, the subjects I want to make, inexorably demand it. Enclosed is a little sketch of diggers, I will tell you why I'm sending it. Tersteeg said to me, “You failed before and now you will fail again - it will be the same story all over again.” Stop - no, it is quite different now, and that reasoning is really nothing but a sophism. My not being fit for business or for professional study does not prove at all that I am not fit to be a painter. On the contrary, if I had been able to be a clergyman or an art dealer, then perhaps I should not have been fit for drawing and painting, and I should neither have resigned nor accepted...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(late April 1882)
... have I done to deserve all this trouble? All the anxiety and worry cannot but make me nervous and flurried in speech and manner. When Mauve imitated me, saying, “This is the sort of face you make,” “This is the way you speak,” I answered, My dear friend, if you had spent rainy nights in the streets of London or cold nights in the Borinage - hungry, homeless, feverish - you would also have such ugly lines in your face and perhaps a husky voice too. Adieu, Theo, with a handshake, Yours sincerely, Vincent It was impossible to make the views of the city for C. M. because of all the rain and wind, so I didn't receive the money for them. Therefore, as I have to pay the rent on the first of May, if you could send something about that time, it would be very welcome. ...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Wilhelmina van Gogh
(c. 22 June 1888)
... resemblance than the photographer's. However, at the present moment I look different, insofar as I am wearing neither hair nor beard, the same having been shaved off clean. Furthermore, my complexion has changed from green-greyish-pink to greyish-orange, and I am wearing a white suit instead of a blue one, and I am always very dusty, always more bristlingly loaded like a porcupine, with sticks, painter's easel, canvases and further merchandise. Only the green eyes have remained the same, but of course another colour in the portrait is the yellow straw hat, like a hannekenmaaier's, 3 and a very black little pipe - I live in a little yellow house with a green door and green blinds, whitewashed inside - on the white walls very brightly coloured Japanese prints, red tiles on the floor - the house in the full sunlight - and over it an intensely blue sky, and - the shadows in the middle of the day much shorter than in our country. Well - can you understand that one...

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