van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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 28 letters relate to lifestyle - clothing...Excerpt length: shorter longer  
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(22 January 1882)
... carry out; but it cannot all be done at once. You know my clothes are chiefly old things of yours which have been altered for me, or a few have been bought ready-made and are of poor material. So they look shabby, and especially all my dabbling in paint makes keeping them decent even more difficult; it is the same with boots. My underwear is also beginning to fall apart. You know that I have been without means for a long time already, and then many things get dilapidated.
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(c. 14-18 March 1882)
... that will put 30 guilders in my pocket. If something from you were added to that, I would risk buying a few shirts and drawers which I need very, very badly, seeing that the shirts, etc., I own are really getting into a deplorable state and I have only a very few of them. Since I wrote to you I have been working with the same models the whole time and I must say I'm glad to have found them. I am busy drawing heads, and I urgently need to draw hands and feet as well (but it can't be done all at once). And when summer comes and the cold is no longer a handicap, I must needs in one way or another do some studies of the nude. Not exactly academic poses. But I would, for example, be tremendously pleased to have a nude model for a digger or a seamstress. From the front, from the back, from the side. To learn to see and sense the shape properly through the clothes and to have an idea of the movement. I estimate that about 12 studies, 6 men, 6 women, would throw a lot of light on...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(3 June 1882)
... a chance to get even better results. I should be very pleased if you perhaps had in your wardrobe a discarded coat and pair of trousers fit for me. For when I buy something, I do my best to get things which are as practical as possible for working in the dunes or at home, but my street clothes are getting very shabby. And though I am not ashamed to wear common clothes when I go out to work, I am ashamed indeed of gentlemen's clothes that have a shabby genteel air. But my work clothes are not untidy at all, just because I have Sien to take care of them and make the necessary small repairs. I close this letter by repeating that I hope so much the family will not regard my relation with Sien as an intrigue, which it isn't at all. This would disgust me beyond words, and raise the barrier between us still higher. What I hope is that people with a certain untimely wisdom will not meddle in order to prevent my living with her. You speculated about an inheritance, but that...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(26 July 1882)
... you to see Tersteeg or Mauve, etc. and then, I am so used to my working clothes, in which I can lie or sit on the sand or the grass, whichever is necessary (for in the dunes I never use a chair, only an old fish basket sometimes); so my dress is a little too Robinson Crusoe-like for paying calls with you. I tell you this before your visit so that you may know that I will not be any trouble to you, but for the rest you will understand that I actually long for every half hour that you can spare. I think we shall feel easier with each other if we stick to the subject of painting and drawing, and talk especially about that. But if there is nothing else which bothers or worries you, then remember I haven't a single secret from you and you have my full confidence in everything. I am also very anxious to show you the wood engravings. I have a splendid new one, a drawing by Fildes, “The Empty Chair of Dickens,” from the Graphic of 1870 . I could have bought...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(5 or 6 August 1882)
... and had to be replaced by a stronger one. I bought a pair of strong and warm trousers, and as I had bought a pair of strong shoes just before you came, I am now prepared to weather the storm and rain. It is my decided aim to learn from this painting of landscape a few things about technique which I feel I need for the figure, namely to express different materials, and the tone and the colour. In one word, to express the bulk - the body - of things. Through your coming it became possible to me, but before you came there was not a day when I did not think in this way about it, only I should have had to keep exclusively to black and white and to the outline a little longer. - But now I have launched my boat. Adieu, boy, once more, a hearty handshake and believe me, Yours, Vincent ...

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