Van Gogh in
Goupil & Cie I
It is unknown whether the current building at 17 Southamptonstreet is the one that housed Goupil & Cie I. If you have more information about its current status, please let us know using the comments form at the bottom of this page.
Van Gogh in
Goupil & Cie I
In May 1873, Vincent van Gogh moved to London to work at the city’s branch of the international art dealers Goupil & Cie. He had already built up experience in the firm’s Hague branch. Goupil did not have a showroom in London; there was only a warehouse for the distributon of prints. It did not deal in original paintings and was therefore mainly regarded as a wholesaler of reproductions. Vincent occupied himself chiefly with administrative tasks. He wrote of his situation without much enthusiasm:
“Things are going all right for me here, I have a nice home, and even though the firm isn’t as exciting as the Hague branch” Read the complete letter
Since the nature of the London business did not afford Vincent many chances to see actual paintings, he asked his brother Theo to keep him informed about works he saw and about new editions of etchings and lithographs. One advantage of working at Goupil’s London branch was that Vincent’s days were considerably shorter than they had been in The Hague, although he observed that the people worked just as hard. He began work at nine o’clock and got off at six; the working hours left him enough time for walking, reading and writing letters. On Saturdays, he finished at four. Every day, Vincent walked to work from his boarding house; the trip took him about forty-five minutes. He earned 90 pounds a year, good salary.
In January 1875, Goupil & Cie took over Holloway & Sons at 25 Bedford Street. Vincent was not present to help prepare for the opening of Goupil’s new location because he had temporarily been sent to the Paris branch. The reason for this move is not known but pressure from his family may have been a factor as his state of mind was gloomy and they did not believe the London air was doing him any good. This may have disappointed Vincent, who had hoped to be of service when the firm would develop its trade in paintings. He wrote to his brother:
“it’s perhaps good that I’m here, and later on especially, when the trade in paintings becomes a little more important, I’ll possibly be of use.” Read the complete letter
In the spring of 1875, however, Vincent was transferred to Goupil & Cie’s Paris headquarters. The transfer was meant to be temporary at first but in the end Vincent was not destined to return to London.
Kristine Groenhart en Willem-Jan Verlinden