Portrait of Doctor Gachet, 25 May 1890
Vincent van Gogh
etching on laid paper
30.8 x 24.4 cm; plate: 18.2 x 15.1 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 15228)
In May 1890 Vincent van Gogh arrived in Auvers where Dr. Gachet could monitor his state of mental health. Gachet introduced him to etching and together they planned to print a series on themes of southern France. However, the project never materialized and this portrait is the only etching van Gogh executed. He sent an impression to his brother, the art dealer, Theo van Gogh, who called it “a true painter’s etching. No refinement in the execution, but a drawing on metal.” Also known as "L’homme à la pipe" (Man with a pipe), the pose is quite distinct from van Gogh’s oil painting of Dr. Gachet (Musée d’Orsay, 1890). The undulating flow of the line is typical of the expressive quality of van Gogh’s late style. This impression is from one of some 60 identified posthumous printings by Dr. Gachet’s son, Paul Gachet Jr., and bears Gachet’s collector's stamp at the bottom edge.