My dear Theo,
I wanted to let you know in just a word or two that Rappard has been to see me and that I’ve borrowed 25 guilders from him, with the promise of repayment in the autumn. I was delighted by his visit — he came in the morning and stayed until the last train in the evening, and we spent the whole day looking at one thing and another, and he did a sketch using printer’s ink and turpentine to try it out. Now I’m going to him tomorrow to see his work and his studio.
It was a truly enjoyable day — he was rather changed in both his appearance and his manner — for my part I find him much better like this than before. He’s broader in the shoulders, and in his views on many matters as well, I believe.
Well, the money from him has helped me to get many things I needed; it was badly needed.
I used it, among other things, to have large sketchpads made for outdoors.  1v:2
I had to keep back some money for a pair of trousers, though, and tomorrow there’s the cost of travelling to Utrecht. But it still helps.
In addition, I was surprised by a very brief visit from Pa. Neither he nor I mentioned your news about the woman. Pa probably thought I didn’t know yet, and I kept to our agreement.1
I think Pa was rather taken by the figures of workmen I’m working on.
Among the pads I’d made with the money from R. there’s one for watercolours too.
I tried it out straightaway, a hut in the dunes with a wheelbarrow &c. in the foreground, a figure of a digger in the background.2
Ah, Theo. I’ll get the hang of watercolour one day or another.  1v:3
In the last few days, or rather weeks, I’ve had the very pleasant company outdoors of a young surveyor3 who was trying his hand at drawing. He showed me drawings which I thought poor, and I told him why I thought they were poor. After that I naturally expected to hear no more from him — but one fine day he approached me again, he had time now and might he come with me outdoors? Well, Theo, that chap has got the hang of landscape drawing so well that these days he brings along truly attractive sketches of meadows and woods and dunes. He has to take an examination in October, however, and his father4 doesn’t want him to spend so much time on it. But in my view he can easily combine his profession of surveyor with drawing.
He’s the same sort of young chap as Rappard when we first met him. What he did before I knew him were horribly botched paintings, generally atrocious. I began by telling him that first he should only draw for a while — I had to make him draw lots of things, which he didn’t enjoy but he trusted me in that. Well, this morning he asked if he might have another go at painting, and that went extremely well now  1r:4 and he has scraped off all his old things.
Am longing for a letter from you. Rappard sends his regards. Are things going well for you, and for your patient? Pa did say that you’d written to them about coming this summer. I can hardly tell you how I long for that.
Saw The harvest by Lhermitte in the Salon illustrated catalogue. It looks beautiful; how it captures the truth of the work and of the peasant figure.5
Well, adieu, I hope your letter comes soon for I have need of it again. I saw Arnold in town with someone else, perhaps Tripp6 — they were walking with Mauve. But saw them in the far distance. Because Mauve was in the middle I thought of Christ between two thieves,7 or else the group, in dark silhouette against a sunlit wall, looked like someone being taken in by two gendarmes. Anyway, those are figments of one’s imagination, things as they might be seen.8 I wish you well, old chap, with a handshake.

Ever yours,


Br. 1990: 345 | CL: 285
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: The Hague, on or about Sunday, 20 May 1883

1. On this agreement not to mention Theo’s relationship, see letter 339.
2. This watercolour of a hut in the dunes is not known.
3. Antoine Philippe Furnée, who was training to become a surveyor; he took his exams at the end of 1883. See Op de Coul and Tellegen 1995.
5. A simplified reproduction of Léon Augustin Lhermitte, La moisson (The harvest) (Saint Louis (USA), Washington University Gallery of Art), Ill. 217 [217], appeared in the Catalogue illustré du Salon. Publié sous la direction de F.-G. Dumas. Paris 1883, p. 189. Ill. 214 [214].
[217] [214]
6. The art dealers Arnoldus Petrus Eversteijn and Richard Howard Tripp (or Trip; cf. letter 33, n. 4) were the owners of Maison Arnold et Tripp, located at 8 rue Saint-Georges. See Almanach du commerce de Paris 1885. Mauve had dealings with them in the 1880s. See Stolwijk 1998, pp. 214-215 (n. 96). From time to time Arnold visited Jozef Israëls’s studio in The Hague. Tripp replaced Van Gogh at Goupil in London in 1875 (FR b2338).
7. Van Gogh’s use of French here may indicate that he was thinking of a work of art depicting Christ between the two thieves.
8. Possibly a quotation (cf. Matt. 13:17).