Vincent’s Letters

Posted on Jul 8, 2009

During his lifetime, Vincent van Gogh wrote a great many letters, mostly addressed to his brother Theo. Fortunately for us many of these letters were kept, and in 1914 Theo’s wife published them for the first time. This painting is of that three volume original publication.

The year 2009 saw the publication of an impressive undertaking: a six volume box set of all Vincent’s letters, illustrated with all the paintings and drawings which he refers to in his writings. I just managed to complete this painting in time, so I’m pleased I could put my signature on it in the same year that the letters were republished.

VanGoghBooks Framed

Vincent van Gogh’s Letters
Oil on canvas, 2009 – 50 cm x 40cm

Of all the art that inspires my work, it is not a painting, but these letters which are foremost in importance. The books in this painting are the actual first edition and they are always with me. I have read them twice and know what’s in them, but I’m still not finished reading. I would recommend these letters to anyone who wants to paint seriously because they give an unparalleled insight in what art is all about.


The decanter in this painting is also one of my favourites. Always on the kitchen worktop, and for the purpose of this painting filled with a fragant golden liquid called Asbach Uralt (no tea). To complement the composition I used this delicate glass from Frank Dux Antiques in Bath, England.

As for the spectacles, I decided not to paint antique glasses, but my own, the ones I wear to read.


Herbstausstellung SchloƟ Gesmold
Flyer for the Exhibition

For the exhibition of my paintings at Schloss Gesmold, in the Autumn of 2010, Robert used the Van Gogh Letters painting and then somehow changed the background to form a smooth, green backdrop for the text.