van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Nuenen, late September 1885
Relevant paintings:

"Still Life with a Basket of Potatoes," Vincent van Gogh

"Still Life with Copper Kettle, Jar and Potatoes," Vincent van Gogh

"Potato Eaters," Vincent van Gogh

Dear Theo,

I want to tell you that I have finished a few things which I should like to send you.

I have read the book by Bracquemond more than once, and have thought it over well. Though what he says about the colours isn't new, though after all it comes to the same thing as the theories discovered by Delacroix, though what he says about drawing - modelling is drawing, drawing is modelling - isn't new either, yet I have seldom read stronger expressions for these and other theories.

Well, I like the book enormously, and it has rather preoccupied me. The pictures I have for you are a few still lifes, a basket with potatoes in it, fruit, a brass kettle, etc., which I made especially with regard to the modelling with different colours, and I should like Portier to see them. I shall send them to you as soon as I have some money, for it's the end of the month.

I am curious to see the new Lhermitte, if there has been one this month. I ordered some colours from Schoenfeld in Dusseldorf, because I could not get the right ones here.

That the colour of the “Potato Eaters” is not good is, partly at least, the paint's fault. I was reminded of it because I painted a large still life in which I sought similar tones, and as I was not satisfied with it because I again got the same things as before, I painted it anew. Judging from this experience, it would have turned out much better with the mineral blue I have now than with what I had before.


Ever yours, Vincent

At this time, Vincent was 32 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written late September 1885 in Nuenen. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 424.

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