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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

Hôtel Drouot

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

Seen here

Eugène Delacroix, Christ Asleep during the Tempest, ca. 1853

Eugène Delacroix, Christ Asleep during the Tempest, ca. 1853

Oil on canvas, 50,8 x 61 cm

The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York (H.O. Havemeyer Collection, legaat van Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.131)

Edouard Manet, Vase of peonies on a pedestal, 1864

Edouard Manet, Vase of peonies on a pedestal, 1864

Oil on canvas, 93,2 x 70,2 cm

Musée d'Orsay, Parijs

Jean-François Millet, The view from the hills of Landemeer, 1867-1871

Jean-François Millet, The view from the hills of Landemeer, 1867-1871

Pastel

Reims, Musée des Beaux-Arts

Jean-François Millet, Cliffs at Gréville, 1870-1871

Jean-François Millet, Cliffs at Gréville, 1870-1871

Pastel

Kurashiki, Ohara Museum of Art

    Relevant letters from Vincent

    Continue reading

    1. Nienke Bakker

      Van Gogh en Montmartre
      Amsterdam, 2011
    2. Françoise Cachin en Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov

      Van Gogh à Paris
      Parijs, 1988
    3. Ella Hendriks en Louis van Tilborgh

      Vincent van Gogh schilderijen, deel 2: Antwerpen en Parijs
      Amsterdam, 2011