Van Gogh in
rue Drouot 9
The Drouot auction house still exists, and its main location occupies the same address as it did when Vincent lived in Paris. The current building replaced the original one around 1875.
Van Gogh in
Vincent often frequented the Hôtel Drouot auction house on viewing days to look at the art. Some of the works he saw so impressed him that he mentioned them in his letters. On 11 or 12 June 1875, for instance, he viewed a sales exhibition of 95 pastels and drawings by the French artist Jean-François Millet (1814–1875) from the collection of Emile Gavet. Vincent greatly admired Millet’s work and described what he felt as he walked into the Hôtel Drouot:
“Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” Read the complete letter
Years later, in 1883, Vincent wrote to his brother Theo of how glad he still was to have seen Millet’s drawings that day.
In early June 1886, Vincent and Theo went to the Hôtel Drouot for a sale of works from Paul Saulnier’s private collection. There, Vincent saw Édouard Manet’s Vase of Peonies on a Pedestal. In Arles in 1888, painting the fourth in a series of sunflower still lifes, he mentioned the technical simplicity of Manet’s painting in a letter. At the same auction, Vincent also saw Christ Asleep during the Tempest by Eugène Delacroix, whom Vincent greatly admired for his use of colour. He mentioned the painting – which he characterised as a “powerful sketch” – in several letters. On 26 June 1888, he wrote to his friend Émile Bernard:
“Ah — E. Delacroix’s beautiful painting — Christ’s boat on the sea of Gennesaret, he — with his pale lemon halo — sleeping, luminous — within the dramatic violet, dark blue, blood-red patch of the group of stunned disciples. On the terrifying emerald sea, rising, rising all the way up to the top of the frame. Ah — the brilliant sketch.” Read the complete letter
The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York (H.O. Havemeyer Collection, legaat van Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.131)
Musée d'Orsay, Parijs
Reims, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Françoise Cachin en Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov
Ella Hendriks en Louis van Tilborgh