To Theo van Gogh. Nuenen, on or about Sunday, 14 December 1884.
My dear Theo,
Here are a couple of scratches of the heads I’m working on — which I do in haste and from memory.
I wrote to tell you how little I had left this month — you know how it was much the same last month.
My position is — and now more than ever before — that I keep on painting just as long as I have money for the models. I can’t tell you how impatient and how distressed I become about these last days of the month, when I sometimes have to leave things that actually demand that I go on with them.
I have to make 50 of these heads — while I’m still here and can get models of all types relatively easily during the winter months. Now the winter months are passing, though, without my making as many as I want and as are necessary if I don’t continue getting on with it. That’s why I continue getting on with it — and must urge most strongly, if it’s even only half possible for you, that you try to cover me for the end of this month.
I don’t need much, 20 francs or 30 francs will go a long way towards covering it.
But that’s worth more to me at this moment than an extra 50 francs later. With hard work, these 50 heads will be finished this coming winter. But they involve so much work and toil that I need every day.
And it will, I hope, be the means of making an arrangement between you and me that is better for both sides than the present one. With which, it seems to me, we should make haste — precisely to prevent our quarrelling.
Regards — if you have borrowed or can borrow, help me with this.
Since I didn’t want my entire paint bill at the end of the year, I’ve already paid part of it off this month, as I said.
But that the work should be delayed by it is something I can’t tolerate.
I’ve had a series of drawings by Renouard from Rappard, ‘The legal world’, figures of lawyers — criminals &c. — I don’t know if you’ve noticed them — I think they’re very fine.
And in my view he’s someone of the true race of the Daumiers and Gavarnis.