To Anthon van Rappard. Nuenen, Sunday, 21 September 1884.
My dear friend Rappard,
With many thanks for letting me read them, I’m today returning the book by Blanc and the one by Fromentin. As I said, as a consequence of reading Artistes de mon temps, I sent for the Grammaire des arts du dessin by the same writer, and you can read it if you want to.
Last week I happened to go to Utrecht for the day with some other people from the village. I did call on you, but I couldn’t go back because I had to leave again the same day. I found no one home, and I was sorry because it meant that I couldn’t see any of your work at all — I really would have liked to see your large painting of the fish market. And they couldn’t even tell me where you were, which is why I assume you’re still in Drenthe.
And at the same time I wanted to talk about your visit to us, whether or not you feel like it. I already wrote to you, but no reply to two letters.
I’ve worked with great pleasure on the 6 canvases I wrote to you about, and all 6 of them are now done as painted sketches and are already with my art lover, after which, once he’s copied them, they remain my property and I’ll finish them off. The subjects are:
Shepherd, storm effect
Wood gatherers, snow effect
I was somewhat constrained because I had to keep to specific dimensions, and also because my art lover preferred compositions with 5 or 6 figures, say, whereas I would rather have had 2 or 3. But anyway, I still worked on them with a great deal of pleasure, and will take them even further.