The Hague, 24 March 1882
I have been working very hard lately, and am busy from
morning till night.I
continue to make such little views of the city almost every
day, and have the knack now.
I wish Tersteeg or others who pretend to be friendly or to
want to help me would ask for things that I can make,
instead of asking for impossible things which discourage
instead of encourage me. Enfin, que soit. But I had expected
C.M. to pay me at once. The drawings were certainly no worse
than the specimen which he saw, and I had trouble enough making
them, perhaps more than 30 guilders' worth. If people
understood that nothing is nothing, and that days
without a penny in my pocket are very hard and difficult, I
think they would not begrudge me the little money I get from
you which keeps me afloat in these hard times, not unnerve me
by reproaches for taking it from you.
Don't I deserve my bread if I work hard? Or am I not worthy
of the means which enable me to work? I only wish, brother,
that you would come here soon and see for yourself whether I'm
cheating you or not.
Blommers spoke to me about showing a collection of wood
engravings after Herkomer, Frank Holl, du Maurier, etc., some
evening at Pulchri. I should like very much to do so. I have
enough of them for at least two evenings.
Well, I'm getting on all right and feel that I am making
progress. I must go on drawing for a year or at least a few
months more until my hand has become quite firm, and my eye
steady; and then I don't see any obstacle to my becoming quite
productive in things that will sell. It is only reasonable for
me to want these few months' time. I cannot go quicker than
that, for I should produce bad work, and that isn't necessary:
with a little patience my work can be good.
Can you send me some money soon? I hope so. You know I sent
the 10 guilders back to Tersteeg.
I wish you would become a painter; you can if you want to,
and you wouldn't lose by it—you would only become
something better than if you remained an art dealer, even if
you were the best of all art dealers. But you'll have to plunge
into it with all your strength to bring out the best that's in
I haven't sent you any little sketches recently, I'm waiting
until you come to see them for yourself—that's better. I
am busy drawing some figures and also a few landscapes, for
instance a nursery here on Schenkweg.
I should like to know since when they can force or try to
force an artist to change either his technique or his point of
view. I think it very impertinent to attempt such a thing,
especially for a man like Tersteeg, who pretends to stand on
“good form.” Theo, if you can send me some money,
do, the sooner you send it, the sooner I shall be relieved of
Well—I have to work anyhow—adieu, write
Yours sincerely, Vincent
[The drawings Vincent refers to were: F920, JH 113; F 922,
JH 114; F 917, JH 115; F 921, JH 116; F 925, JH 117; F 924, JH
118; F 922a, JH 119; F 939a, JH 120; F 1679, JH 121 and F 915,
At this time, Vincent was 28 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 24 March 1882 in The Hague. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 183.
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