My dear Theo,
Here are a couple of smaller photos of the studies of which you already have the larger ones.1 I’m sending them because — should it ever come to it — I want you to be able to show something of mine. Rappard is still here and will be staying for another week since the work is going extraordinarily well. He’s making women spinning and various studies of heads, has already made 10 studies or so, all of which I consider fine.2
We’ve talked together quite a lot about Impressionism — I think that you would classify his work as that. But here in Holland it’s hard to work out what Impressionism is actually trying to say.3 But both he and I are greatly interested in what the present aim is. And it’s certain that unexpected new ideas are beginning to emerge. That paintings are once again beginning to be painted in very different tone from a few years ago.
The last thing I made is a rather large study of an avenue of poplars with the yellow autumn leaves, where the sun makes glittering patches here and there on the fallen leaves on the ground, which are interspersed with the long shadows cast by the trunks.4  1v:2
At the end of the road a peasant cottage, and the blue sky above it between the autumn leaves.
I think that in a year’s time — having spent that year once again painting a great deal and constantly — I’ll change my manner of painting and my colour a great deal, and that I’m likely to become slightly more sombre rather than lighter. The spectrum of Rappard’s work has also become much lower.
The heads that he’s painting at present are reminiscent in their effect of certain studies of heads by Courbet, say.5 But it’s becoming devilish good, that I can assure you.
Because of one thing and another I discussed with him, it may well be that I prefer to stay here and carry on working here rather than go somewhere else. As a result of his visit I’ve again got new ideas for my own work, and have so many things in my head which I’d like to make that, after all, I can’t easily postpone getting on with them right away.
Besides, I want to settle my paint bills before the New Year, and can’t afford any extra expenditure.  1v:3 Because if I went to Antwerp I’d obviously want to do a lot of work and would need models for it, which I fear would work out too dear for the moment.
But in general Rappard advises me not to do it right away, but after having painted here for another few months, and to try to get a pied-à-terre to make nude studies.
But I’ll be able to benefit more from Antwerp if I first paint another 30 heads here — and I’m starting on those 30 heads now, or rather I’ve already started with a large bust of a shepherd.6
Rappard has done the same in Drenthe and on Terschelling this summer, and it has helped him to make a good deal of progress.
I’ve just seen a reproduction of a Lhermitte — The inn — two workmen and a woman,7 do you know it?  1r:4
The last few days R. and I have been on some long excursions, and visited people house by house — we’ve seen lots of beautiful things, just because of the magnificent autumnal effects. And also discovered new models. Perhaps a few other painters might come to this region next year. I wish they would, because one shouldn’t go for too long without ever seeing any painters.
Well — as to that — I’ll get new acquaintances before too long in any event.
Regards, from Rappard too.

Yours truly,


Br. 1990: 469 | CL: 383
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Nuenen, on or about Saturday, 25 October 1884

1. These ‘larger’ photographs are not known. See for the photographs sent prior to this: letters 463 and 465. Small cartes de visite of works that were part of the decoration for Hermans had already been enclosed with letter 466.
2. Little is known of the work that Van Rappard did during his stay in Nuenen. See exhib. cat. Amsterdam 1974, p. 90.
3. Van Gogh – like many of his fellow-countrymen – remained ignorant about Impressionism for a long time: see letter 288, n. 4 and Tempel 1999.
4. Avenue of poplars in autumn (F 122 / JH 522 [2488]). The work measures 99 x 66 cm.
5. It is impossible to tell which of Courbet’s numerous studies of heads Van Gogh has in mind here. Cf. Pierre Courthion, Tout l’oeuvre peint de Courbet. Paris 1996.
6. See for this ‘large bust’ of a shepherd letter 466, n. 4.
7. A reproduction of a charcoal drawing after Léon Augustin Lhermitte, Le cabaret, dit à tort Intérieur de ferme (The inn, wrongly called Farm interior), 1881 (private collection) was printed as a supplement in La Vie Moderne 4 (20 May 1882), between pp. 320-321. Ill. 211 [211].