van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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 16 letters relate to lifestyle - appearance...Excerpt length: shorter longer  
Article by Benno J. Stokvis
... he was highly respected by the farmers. When he set off for work, he generally wore a sort of raincoat and a sou'wester. In general his attire was rough [“raw”]. Every day he might be seen walking with a small campstool under one arm and a square frame (??) under the other, always staring straight in front of him, and he took little notice of people. Without doing strikingly eccentric things, he yet seemed a queer sort of man. When Vincent was busy painting, he did not like to be watched; if anyone stood watching him longer than he liked, he unreservedly begged the importunate person to clear off. At times he was anything but meek. Toward the poor he always showed himself exceedingly open-handed; he once gave a beggar his own velvet suit, which was as good as new. Now and then he would hand over a number of drawings to his father for distribution among the members of the consistory. If a drawing did not come off “choicely” enough to his...
Newspaper article by D. Gestel
(10 October 1930)
... the Roman Catholic Church at Nuenen…There he was standing before us, that short, square-built little man, called by the rustics “het schildermenneke,” “the little painter fellow.” His sunburned, weather-beaten face was framed in a somewhat red and stubbly beard. His eyes were slightly inflamed, probably from his painting in the sun. If it had not been Sunday, he would certainly have been wearing his blue blouse. Now he was dressed in a short, thick pea jacket, the kind bargemen generally wear. While he was talking about his work, he mostly kept his arms folded across his chest. Time had been flying remarkably fast during this interesting summer afternoon at Nuenen. Toward evening twilight Vincent took us around the village. We turned into the narrow path behind the pastor's house, and soon we reached the old, squat tower and the small churchyard…After we had seen some fine picturesque homesteads, it was time to start on our walk back...
Exerpt from La vie tragique de Vincent van Gogh
... remember well his arrival at Pâturages; he was a blond young man of medium stature and with a pleasant face; he was well dressed, had excellent manners, and showed in his personal appearance all the characteristics of Dutch cleanliness. He expressed himself in French correctly, and was able to preach quite satisfactorily at the religious gatherings of the little Protestant group in Wasmes which they had entrusted to his care. Another community in Wasmes had a pastor. He worked near the edge of the forest, in the direction of Warquignies; he led divine service in a former dance hall. Our young man took lodgings in an old farm at Petit-Wasmes. The house was relatively pretty - it differed considerably from the dwellings in the neighborhood, where one saw only little miners' cottages. The family which had taken Vincent in had simple habits, and lived like working people.
Article by Dr. M. E. Tralbaut
... of November 13, 1927, Tralbaut, p. 140): And there Van Gogh appeared on the scene - the Van Gogh, who was the spitting image of the portrait the Englishman Levens made of him, and which was reproduced in the first number of The Present and Presently. A flat, pink head with yellow hair, an angular mask, a pointed nose, a short pipe stuck in the midst of a tough, ill-cut beard. Van Gogh unfurls his drawings, at which we look with something like a shuddering terror, and immediately afterward starts painting the nude model, who at that moment appears before the class. Tralbaut publishes a reproduction of the official records of the session of the academy's Board of Governors, at which Vincent was relegated to a lower class (it was said that he could not draw, although he had already painted the “Potato Eaters”).We find in Piérard's book what Piet van Havermaet told him on this point. [Piérard, pp. 155-159] On the subject of Van Gogh's...
Article by V. W. van Gogh
... along on walks, and talked a lot with him. He wore blue linen trousers and a smock, and had a little red chin-tuft; he was “an ugly creature.” Vincent had painted his father weaving in the little house where Dekkers was living now; he was very quick at drawing. The models portrayed in the B. de la Faille pictures are No. 136: Sien de Groot, No. F 1446: Mieke van Rooy - and one of the weavers: Toon Swinkels. V. W. van Gogh, Civil Engineer ...

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