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17 Southamptonstreet

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

  1. 19 May 1873
     - 26 Oct 1874 1874

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 had not been present during the preparations for the opening of the new shop, having been temporarily transferred to the Paris branch. 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.

Relevant letters from Vincent

Continue reading

  1. Martin Bailey

    Young Vincent: the story of Van Gogh's years in England
    London, 1990
  2. Kristine Groenhart en Willem-Jan Verlinden

    Hoe ik van Londen houd: wandelen door het Londen van Vincent van Gogh
    Amsterdam, 2013
  3. Jan Meyers

    De jonge Vincent: jaren van vervoering en vernedering
    Amsterdam, 1989
  4. Ronald Pickvance

    English influences on Vincent van Gogh
    London, 1974