Paul Ferdinand Gachet. Etching by V. van Gogh, 1890


Paul Ferdinand Gachet (1828-1909) was a maverick physician who practiced what later came to be called complementary or alternative medicine. He had a consulting room in Paris to which he commuted from his house in Auvers-sur-Oise outside the city. He was an art lover--an amateur artist, art collector, and a friend of many artists, one of whom was the eccentric Dutchman Vincent Van Gogh (1853-90). Gachet and Van Gogh only knew each other for a couple of months: from May 20, 1890, when Van Gogh arrived to stay in a lodging house in Auvers, to July 27 of the same year, when the painter committed suicide. Van Gogh, suffering from a form of mania, was producing one painting a day at that time. With Gachet's help, he was able to draw this etched portrait to be printed on Gachet's printing press, probably after Sunday lunch at Gachet's house on June 15, 1890. This impression of the print was bought by Henry S. Wellcome from Gachet's son, Paul-Louis Gachet, in 1927, together with many other items of Gachet personalia. The cat in the bottom margin is the stamp certifying the print's provenance from Paul-Louis Gachet.

Date Created

Subject Date


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Physical Description

1 print: etching; platemark 18.3 x 15.1 centimeters


  • According to Van Heugten and Pabst, pages 79-82, bears date "Mai" by mistake for "Juin"; date written on the plate possibly by Gachet. According to Distel and Stein possibly drawn and etched in May but printed in June.


Last updated: February 22, 2016