I must tell you that Rappard has been here, and that I
borrowed 25 guilders from him, promising to pay them back next
autumn. I was very glad to see him - he came in the morning and
stayed till the last train in the evening, and we spent the
whole day looking at the studies, and drawings, and he also
made a sketch in printer's ink and turpentine, just to see what
it was like. Now I am going to him tomorrow, to see his work
and his studio. It was a thoroughly pleasant day. He was rather
changed both in appearance and in manner. I personally like him
much better now than before. He has become broader in the
shoulders, and I think broader in his views on many things
Well, the money he advanced me has helped me to get many
things which I absolutely needed.
Among other things, And I had to buy a pair of trousers, and
tomorrow I shall have to pay the fare to Utrecht. But it has
helped me a great deal.
I was also surprised by a very short visit from Father. I
think he rather liked the workmen's figures I am working
I tried it at once, a cottage in the dunes
with a wheelbarrow, etc., in the foreground, and a small figure
of a digger in the background. Oh, Theo, some day or other I
shall surely get the knack of making watercolours.
These last days, or rather weeks, I have had the very
pleasant company of a young land surveyor who tried his hand at
drawing [Furnée]. He once showed me drawings, which I
thought very bad, and I told him why I thought them so bad.
Of course I never expected to hear from him again after
that; but one day he returned - he has more leisure now, might
he come with me to work outdoors? Well, Theo, the fellow has
got the knack of landscape drawing so well that at present he
brings home really charming sketches of meadow, wood and dune.
But he still has to pass an examination in October, and his
father does not want him to spend so much time on drawing. But
in my opinion he can very well combine his profession of land
surveyor with drawing.
He is the kind of fellow Rappard was when we first knew
The things he made before I knew him were horrible daubs,
most of them hideous. I began by telling him that at first he
had to confine himself to drawing for some time. I made him
draw many things which he did not like at all, but he trusted
me in this. Now this morning he asked me if he couldn't try his
hand at painting again, and now it came off very well,
and he has scraped off all his old things.
I am longing for a letter from you; Rappard sends you his
Are you well, and how is your patient doing? Father told me
you had written something about coming this summer. I can
hardly tell you how much I long for it.
In the Salon's illustrated catalogue I saw “La
Moisson” [Harvest] by Lhermitte. That looks good. How
thoroughly it expresses the action of the peasant figure!
Well, adieu, I hope your letter will arrive soon, for I have
gone through my money again. I saw Arnold in town with somebody
else, perhaps Trip 1, they were walking with Mauve,
but I saw them only from a distance. As Mauve was in the
middle, it reminded me of “Le Christ Entre Deux
Larrons” [Christ between Two Thieves], or the group
silhouetted against a sunny wall made me think of somebody
arrested by two policemen.
However, these are merely imaginings, “things as they
might be seen.” Good luck, boy. A handshake,
Yours sincerely, Vincent
Arnold and Trip were art dealers.
At this time, Vincent was 30 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written c. 20 May 1883 in The Hague. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 285.
This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.