Vincent Van Gogh and Dr Gachet

Vincent who had just spent a miserable year in Saint Rémy asylum, decided after his latest fit, to go to Paris. He thought of being greeted at Pissaro’s, whom he deemed as a wiseman, and asked Theo to contact him. Unfortunately, Pissaro wouldn’t be able to grant him what he wanted, and suggested Auvers sur Oise where Doctor Gachet, a painters’ friend and himself a painter, would take care of him.
Moreover, Gachet has an engraving press that Vincent could use.
After a stay in Paris that he prefered to shorten, Vincent went to Auvers to see Doctor Gachet.
On their first meeting, the latter left a bad impression on him, he found him “strange, shaken by nervous fits at least as seriously as me”.
As they had the same passion for modern art and the Impressionnists, he ended in appreciating him and treated him as a friend, almost as a brother. Vincent was often invited to Sunday meals and he offered him several studies.
Doctor Gachet, who lived with his son Paul,15, and his daughter Marguerite,21, greatly complimented him on his work and wanted him to make her portrait. He went several times to the inn where Vincent was staying to admire the works from Saint Rémy.
Invited by the Doctor, Theo, Jo, and their baby came to spend a day in Auvers. It looks as if the Doctor closed his door to Vincent after the portrait of Marguerite at the piano. Was he afraid that Vincent became too familiar with Marguerite?
Doctor Gachet would only see Vincent again when he was called at his bedside after his suicide attempt. He roughly bandaged him up and did nothing to save him.
Gachet made Vincent’s portrait on his deathbed and said a few words on his grave.
The doctor’s personality sparked off many debates: a false friend, a forger, a story-teller... ...And so did his son’s, a copy of him, even in the looks, claiming he was the one to know the truth about Vincent’s stay in Auvers.
Vincent made several portraits of Doctor Gachet, included this one (from May), at the beginning of Vincent’s stay.