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Prints and Authors in the Time of Manet

Vincent van Gogh
French Dutch, 1853 –1890

Portrait of a Man with a Pipe (Dr. Paul Gachet)

Etching, 1890
Frederick B. and Kate L. Shoemaker Fund, 1940.98

Paul Gachet (1828–1908) was a homeopathic physician in Auvers north of Paris whom van Gogh met in the last months of his life. An amateur artist himself, Dr. Gachet owned a printing press and, after lunch one day, invited van Gogh to make an etching. This portrait was the result and is van Gogh’s only etching. Van Gogh wrote to his sister Wil that his aim was to make “modern portraits … I don’t try to do us by means of photographic resemblance but by our passionate expression.” Van Gogh admired the prints of Félix Bracquemond and was inspired by his portrait of Edmond de Goncourt, calling it a “masterpiece.”