Nov 6, 2006

Dr. Gachet

Dr. Gachet


Vincent van Gogh

(Dutch, 1853–1890)

Etching and drypoint, enhanced with black ink on laid paper

18.1 x 15.2 cm (7 1/8 x 6 in.)

Dudley P. Allen Fund 1948.303



This portrait of Dr. Paul Gachet, made just two months before the artist’s death, is the only etching that Vincent van Gogh created. Van Gogh placed himself under the care of Gachet in Auvers-sur-Oise, a small village on the northern outskirts of Paris, at the recommendation of fellow artist Camille Pissarro. The doctor was himself an amateur printmaker and gave Van Gogh a varnished copper plate, helping him print it on his own small hand press. For his first attempt, Van Gogh depicted Gachet seated in his garden smoking a pipe. Van Gogh’s brother would later write: “It’s a real painter’s etching. No refinement in the procedure, but a drawing done on metal.”

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