van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Anthon van Rappard
The Hague, c. 15 January 1883

Amice Rappard,

Is your health still improving? I am eager for news from you. The other day I bought twenty-one volumes of the Graphic, namely 1870-1880. What do you think of that? I hope to receive them this week. I got them very cheap, you understand, or else I couldn't have afforded it. But I heard that they were for sale, and I strongly recommended them to someone who is also interested in them.

I have been working hard since your illness on black-and-white drawings, and I hope to learn a few more things about the forces of black and white from these Graphics. I wish we could have a talk again, for, my dear fellow, there is such a lot to do!

What I have been working at especially of late is heads - heads of the people 1 - fishermen's heads with sou'westers, among other things.

As soon as I have looked through the Graphics, I shall write you again, and then in more detail. Of course I shall get a lot of duplicates in this way.

Now you will oblige me greatly by giving me more particulars about the lot you bought - I mean not only by telling me whether there are duplicates, but also what interesting prints you have found in general.

I have found a “Head of a Little Girl” by Percy Macquoid which is splendid; it is a wood engraving after a picture of his. Other beautiful sheets that I have found are, to mention only some of them:

B. Constant

“Sick Fellahs on the Bank of the Nile”

Julien Dupré

“Female Cowherd”


“A Street in South Lambeth”


“Boat Race”


“ “


“Street in Whitechapel”


“Prison in New York”


“Workroom in Sailors' Hospital or Home”


“Winter Girl”

“Peter Stuyvesandt”




Six sheets

Ed. Frère



“Renkeys on Hampstead Heath”

“Gathering Poppies”


“Tip Girls” (Miners)

I did not get these Graphics without trouble. For instance, the Jew I bought them from forced me to do two portraits of his father and mother (i.e. two of each!)

But isn't it a lucky find!

But it's so funny that they're already my property and that I haven't even seen them. The fact is that they are stored in an auction room together with a big lot of books, but the Jew will get them out this week.

Among the books there is Gavarni's La Mascarade Humaine, which I have, but what about you? And the Jew has a lot of other things besides, some of them probably good.

Well, more soon; I hope your recovery is progressing steadily - in haste!

Ever yours, Vincent

  1. Vincent wrote this in English.

At this time, Vincent was 29 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Anthon van Rappard. Written c. 15 January 1883 in The Hague. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number R22.

This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.
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