van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Anthon van Rappard
The Hague, 30 December 1881

Dear Rappard,

I received your letter from Brussels. I do not like it at all, but no matter, for as you said yourself, you wrote it at a moment when you were somewhat abnormal. There is nothing, or hardly anything, in your letter that holds water. However, I am glad you are back from Brussels. In my opinion you do not belong there, and as for the “technical proficiency” you hope to acquire at the academy, I am much afraid your hopes will be deceived. Not even fellows like Stallaert can teach one.

Now I am busy with all kinds of work, for I have rented a small studio that I shall move into by January 1, so I have to arrange a lot of things.

When I have quieted down a bit later on, I shall write you again about all sorts of things in a calmer vein, but don't take it ill of me if at present I have more serious things to do than write letters.

Of course my letters don't pretend to be invariably right, always to explain things correctly - oh no, I am often mistaken. But when I tell you, Rappard, that those academic fellows you are making so much of aren't worth a cent - and when I say this, I mean Stallaert and Severdonk - I am in dead earnest, and I tell you, If I were you, I'd let them go. But I have already told you so several times, and I won't repeat it. I won't hear another syllable about the whole academy, nor will I say another syllable about it - it really isn't worth the trouble. Herewith I send you my greetings - what kind of fellows are those artists with whom you drank a glass of lambiek 1 - why don't you mention the names of some of them? Are they fellows who might be important to you? I hope so, but I doubt it very much - goodbye, old fellow, I have no more time to spare, nor do I feel inclined to write a longer letter. When you are back in your studio, be sure to work regularly with models; it will give you more satisfaction in the long run.

Well, well - cheerio.


In case you want to write me again, you can send your letters to Etten; they will send them on to me. I am wavering between two or three studios, and before January 1st I shall decide which one to take, but for the moment I have no fixed address; you will get it later on.

Therefore I have settled down here, and I am glad I am in different surroundings. Of course, now I have rather a lot of financial worries, but after all it is better than those everlasting bickerings and squabbles.

1. A kind of very strong, twice-fermented, rather sour-tasting beer, a specialty of Flanders.

At this time, Vincent was 28 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Anthon van Rappard. Written 30 December 1881 in The Hague. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number R07.

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