And more ...
Vincent van Gogh was not in the habit of keeping things. He destroyed letters after reading them, and he left sketches and studies behind when he moved to a new location. We owe it in part to his brother Theo, that more than eight hundred paintings, around a thousand works on paper and eight hundred letters have survived.
In addition, there are the four pocket-sized sketchbooks. They are taken out the storage as rarely as possible because of their sensitivity to light. Van Gogh would pull a sketchbook from his pocket with lightning speed, like a cowboy drawing his revolver, open it at random and draw a quick sketch. There is no obvious chronology in these books. Wher-ever his carpenter’s pencil or crayon hit the paper, he started to draw, and if it was more convenient, he turned the book upside down.
He sketched and made a note of everything he found important – colours, addresses, train times, names of fellow artists, street names, measurements and lines from poems. Anyone who opens up the sketchbooks will see how Van Gogh taught himself to be an artist during the ten years of his career, and how he was studying and making progress right until the very end.