van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Etten, July 1881
Relevant paintings:

"Edge of a Wood," Vincent van Gogh

"Jacob Meyer's daughter (after Holbein)," Vincent van Gogh

"Portait of Vincent Van Gogh, the artist's grandfather," Vincent van Gogh

"Possible Portrait of Willemien," Vincent van Gogh

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Dear Theo,

In your last letter you wrote that there is a good chance of your coming to Holland pretty soon. I am very glad because I am looking forward to seeing you. Now I know that you are coming, I think it even more unnecessary to send you a few things; perhaps I might have if you were not coming, so that you might see my drawings do not get any worse, though they are far from what they ought to be. Well, you will see for yourself what is in them when you come.

In my last letter I wrote about the Salon's catalogue; I did so to remind you of it, in case you might be able to get one. Of course, if need be I can do very well without it - it is not a necessity of life.

But there is another thing which is a necessity, and when you come, and if it is not too difficult for you to carry, bring some with you then. I mean, white Ingres paper. I bought some of it from Brussels and worked on it with pleasure, and it is very well suited to pen drawing, especially for a reed pen. Now I have been without it for quite a time, and here I can only get smooth paper without any grain (unless I take Whatman or Harding, but that is too expensive for sketches - the Ingres paper costs 10 centimes a sheet, I think). Well, try your best to put as large a package of it as you can in your bag, and you will give me more pleasure than with anything else.

I have made another drawing in the Liesbosch, and now it has become quite hot - too hot to sit on the heath by day - so I work at home now, and am copying the drawings by Holbein from the Bargues. Remembering what you told me once, I have tried to draw a few portraits after photographs, and I think this is good practice.

As I asked you before, write whenever you can and receive a handshake in thought,


At this time, Vincent was 28 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written July 1881 in Etten. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 147.

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