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"By working hard, old man, I hope to make something good one day. I haven't yet, but I am pursuing it and fighting for it . . . ."

Vincent van Gogh
Letter 257
c. 3 January 1883


Vincent van Gogh is famous for the nearly 900 paintings he produced in his ten short years as an artist. His sketches and watercolours, too, have become extremely well known. It's important to remember, however, that Van Gogh produced works no less remarkable in yet another medium: letter sketches. Throughout his career as an artist Vincent maintained a warm and loving correspondence with his brother, Theo. In many of the letters to his brother (and others as well) Vincent drew sketches within the letters themselves--as a means of showing how his work was progressing.

In the tables below all of Vincent van Gogh's 133 letter sketches are listed. These works are in many ways no less remarkable than Van Gogh's most famous oils. One can see Vincent's ongoing progression as an artist and view intimate subtleties about his craft. There is a surprising attention to detail and even use of colour (see Honesty in a Vase, for example) in Van Gogh's letter sketches. As a result, the poignant content of the letters and the delicate masterpieces many of them contained, truly make Van Gogh's letters a work of art themselves.


Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum

Name

Origin

Letter

JH

Beach and Boats The Hague: 3 September 1882 228 227
Beach and Sea The Hague: c. 10-12 August 1882 224 174
Bench with Four Persons (and Baby) The Hague: c. 12-14 September 1882 R12 198
Beach with People Walking and Boats The Hague: 27 September 1882 237 248
Bird's Nest Nuenen: October, 1885 425 943
Bleaching Ground The Hague: 26 July 1882 220 163
Breakwater The Hague: 29-30 July 1883 307 381
Cemetery Drente: 17 September 1883 325 396
Church in Nuenen, with One Figure Nuenen: c. 24 January 1884 355 447
Church Pew with Worshippers The Hague: c. 1 October 1882 235 226
Cottages with Thatched Roofs and Figures Auvers-sur-Oise: 23 July 1890 651 2116
Couple Walking between Rows of Trees Auvers-sur-Oise: 2 July 1890 646 2042
Cypresses Saint-Rémy: 25 June 1889 596 1750
Daubigny's Garden with Black Cat Auvers-sur-Oise: 23 July 1890 651 2106
Digger Etten: September, 1881 150 30
Digger Etten: October, 1881 151 55
Doctor Gachet Sitting at a Table with Books and a Glass with Sprigs of Foxglove Auvers-sur-Oise: 3 June 1890 638 2008
Enclosed Field with Ploughman Saint-Rémy: 3 or 4 September 1889 602 1769
Farmer Leaning on his Spade Etten: September, 1881 150 41
Farmhouse with Wheat Field along a Road and Field with Flowers Arles: 12 May 1888 487 1418
Field in a Thunderstorm / Digger and Figure of a Woman Etten: September, 1881 150 37 and 39
Field of Grass with Dandelions and Tree Trunks Saint-Rémy: 4 May 1890 631 1971
Fishing Boats on the Beach The Hague: 26 July 1882 220 159
Five Persons at a Meal Nuenen: c. 11 April 1885 399 735
Garbage Dump The Hague: 4 or 5 June 1883 289 369
Garbage Dump The Hague: c. 10 June 1883 292 370
Gardener near a Gnarled Apple Tree The Hague: c. 13 July 1883 300 380
Gardener with a Wheelbarrow Nuenen: early January, 1884 351a 440
Garden with Flowers Arles: c. 19 July 1888 512 1511
Girl in a Wood, A The Hague: 9 September 1882 229 183
Girl Kneeling in Front of a Cradle The Hague: 21-28 March 1883 276 338
Girl near the Stove, Grinding Coffee The Hague: mid-January, 1882 170 91
Girl with Straw Hat, Sitting in the Wheat Auvers-sur-Oise: 1 July 1890 646 2054
Gordina de Groot, Head Nuenen: c. 15 May 1885 409 784
Group of People on the Beach with Fishing Boat Arriving The Hague: 18 September 1882 231 205
Honesty in a Vase Nuenen: c. 1 April, 1885 398 726
Interior with Woman Sewing Nuenen: first half January, 1884 351a 441
Lane of Cypresses with a Couple Walking, A Arles: c. 21 October 1888 556 1616
Lane with Poplars Nuenen: early November, 1885 434 960
L'Arlesienne (Madame Ginoux) Saint-Rémy: c. 5 June 1890 W22 1896
Little Blossoming Pear Tree Arles: c. 13 April 1888 477 1395
Man in a Village Inn The Hague: March, 1883 276 339
Man Pulling a Harrow Drente: 28 October 1883 336 420
Man Putting Potatoes in a Sack Etten: October, 1881 152 60
Memory of the Garden at Etten Arles: c. 16 November 1888 W9 1631
Miners in the Snow at Dawn Cuesmes: 20 August 1880 134 Juv. 10
Newly Mowed Lawn with Weeping Tree Arles: 5 July 1888 508 1500
Nude Woman, Half-Length ("The Great Lady") The Hague: early April, 1882 185 128
Old Man Reeling Yarn Nuenen: early June, 1884 371 498
Old Woman Seen from Behind The Hague: 3 March 1882 178 110
Orchard and House with Orange Roof Arles: c. 21 April 1888 478 1400
Orphans The Hague: 18 September 1882 232 203
Parsonage with Flowering Trees Nuenen: April, 1884 366 476
Path to the Beach The Hague: 29-30 July 1883 307 382
Peasant Burning Weeds, and Farmhouse at Night Drente: c. 22 October 1883 335 419
Peasant Man and Woman Planting Potatoes Nuenen: 9 April 1885 339a (postcard) 728
Peasant Sitting by the Fireplace ("Worn Out") Etten: September, 1881 150 35
Peasant Woman, Head Nuenen: January-February, 1885 393 628
Peasant Woman, Seen against the Window, Head and Whole Figure Nuenen: mid-March, 1885 396 713
Peasant Woman, Seen against the Window, Two Heads Nuenen: mid-March, 1885 396 714
Peasant Woman, Two Heads Nuenen: c. 1 April 1885 397 723
People in the Studio The Hague: c. 2 March 1883 270 327
Plowman with Stooping Woman, and a Little Farmhouse with Piles of Peat Drente: November, 1883 339 422
Plowman with Two Women Drente: c. 13 October 1883 333 412
Pollard Willow The Hague: c. 1 August 1882 221 165
Potato Grubbers, Four Figures The Hague: c. 23-28 June 1883 296 373
Public Garden with a Couple and a Blue Fir Tree Arles: 13 October 1888 552 1602
Public Soup Kitchen, The The Hague: c. 3 March 1883 271 328
Public Soup Kitchen, The The Hague: c. 4 March 1883 272 332
Quay with Men Unloading Sand Barges Arles: c. 14 August 1888 524 1557
Raising of Lazarus, The Saint-Rémy: 3 May 1890 632 1973
Road with Men Walking, Carriage, Cypress, Star, and Crescent Moon Saint-Rémy: c. 17 June 1890 643 1983
Road with Pollard Willows / Farmhouses on a Road with Trees Etten: October, 1881 151 48 and 49
Road with Pollard Willows Etten: October, 1881 R1 50
Road with Pollard Willows Etten: October, 1881 152 58
Rooftops The Hague: 23 July 1882 220 157
Round Clipped Shrub in the Public Garden Arles: 2 October 1888 553b 1584
Schenkweg, The The Hague: mid-January, 1882 170 93
Scheveningen Woman Knitting Etten: December, 1881 163 87
Scheveningen Woman Sewing Etten: December, 1881 163 86
Scheveningen Woman Sewing The Hague: 21 January 1882 171 96
Scheveningen Woman Standing Etten: December, 1881 163 88
Sculpture and Still Life with Cabbage and Clogs Etten: December, 1881 163 89
Seine with the Pont de Clichy, The Paris: summer 1887 471 1324
Snowy Yard The Hague: 21-28 March 1883 276 342
Sower and Trunk of an Old Yew Tree Arles: 28 October 1888 558b 1619
Sower with Hand in Sack Etten: September, 1881 150 33
Sower with Setting Sun Arles: c. 25 November 1888 558a 1628
Starry Night, The Arles: 2 October 1888 553b 1594
State Lottery Office The Hague: c. 1 October 1882 235 223
Still Life with Coffee Pot Arles: c. 20 May 1888 489 1427
Stooping Woman in Landscape Drente: c. 13 October 1883 333 414
Sunset Over a Meadow The Hague: 14 August 1882 225 177
Tarascon Stagecoach, The Arles: 13 October 1888 552 1606
Three Orchards Arles: c. 13 April 1888 477 1393
Three Persons Sitting at the Window Nuenen: early May, 1885 405 776
Two Peasant Women, Digging Nuenen: second half August, 1885 R57 879
Viaduct and the Trinquetaille Bridge, The Arles: 13 October 1888 552 1607
Vincent's Bedroom in Arles Arles: October, 1888 554 1609
Vincent's House Arles: 1 May 1888 480 1413
Weaver Facing Left Nuenen: first half January, 1884 351a 442
Weed Burner, Sitting on a Wheelbarrow with his Wife /
Three Persons Returning from the Potato Field
The Hague: c. 11 July 1883 299 376 and 378
Wheat Fields Auvers-sur-Oise: 2 July 1890 646 2039
Wheat Fields Auvers-sur-Oise: 23 July 1890 651 2100
Wheat Fields Auvers-sur-Oise: 23 July 1890 651 2103
Wheat Harvest Nuenen: early August, 1884 374 508
Woman at the Window, Knitting The Hague: mid-January, 1882 170 92
Woman near a Window (twice), Man with Winnow, Sower, and Woman with Broom Etten: September, 1881 150 28
Woman Reading a Novel Arles: c. 16 November 1888 W9 1633
Women Working in the Peat Drente: 6-7 October 1883 331 410
Woody Landscape After the Rain The Hague: 9 September 1882 229 191
Workman beside a Mound of Peat, and a Peat Boat with Two Figures Drente: c. 22 October 1883 335 416


New York: Pierpont Morgan Library

Name

Origin

Letter

JH

Drawbridge with Walking Couple Arles: c. 15 March 1888 B2 1370
Fishing Boats at Sea, Landscape with Edge of a Road, and a Farm along a Road Arles: 6-11 June 1888 B6 1464
Fishing Boats on the Beach Arles: 6-11 June 1888 B6 1461
Orchard and House with Orange Roof Arles: c. 21 April 1888 B4 1401
Orchard Surrounded by Cypresses Arles: 9 April 1888 B3 1390
Sower with Setting Sun Arles: c. 18 June 1888 B7 1472
Still Life with Coffee Pot Arles: c. 20 May 1888 B5 1428
Street in Saintes-Maries Arles: 6-11 June 1888 B6 1463
Vincent's Bedroom Arles: 17 October 1888 B22 1610
Wheat Field with Setting Sun Arles: c. 18 June 1888 B7 1474


Other Locations

Name

Origin

Letter

JH

Current Location

La Crau with Peach Trees in Bloom Arles: c. 10 April 1889 583b 1682 Private collection
Orchard in Bloom with View of Arles Arles: c. 10 April 1889 583b 1684 Private collection
Ploughed Field Arles: c. 26 September 1888 541a 1587 Private collection
Sower with Setting Sun Arles: c. 17 June 1888 501a 1471 New York, Guggenheim Museum
Woman Digging The Hague: c. 21 May 1883 275 337 Private collection, Paris


Location Unknown

Name

Origin

Letter

JH

Marguerite Gachet at the Piano Auvers-sur-Oise: 28 June 1890 645 2049
Trees with Ivy Saint-Rémy: 22 May 1889 592 1694
Great Peacock Moth Saint-Rémy: 22 May 1889 592 1701


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