House of Doctor Gachet in Auvers by Paul Cezzane

By Monday, April 10, 2017 ,

Paul Cezzane was at the forefront of the post impressionist movement and was a genius to say the least. So much so that, Pablo Picasso referred to him as

"The father of us all. My one and only master"

Doctor Gachet, no matter how boring his name sounds, might not be a popular name in the pages of history, but he lived a full life. Being a connoisseur of art, he was painted by several artists including Vincent Van Gogh, Emelia Bernard, and Charles Leandre. In fact, he had the largest post impressionist art collection in Europe before he died, but its his life that is so much more interesting than his wealth.

He was also a close friend of Henri Nestlé (Yes, the founder of Nestlé!)  and prescribed Nestlé’s new powdered milk to many children at that point of time. 

Between 1872-74, Cezzane lived in Gachet’s house and that is when he drew this incredible painting of the house’s facade.

About the House of Doctor Gachet in Auvers 

The painting was done early on in Cezzane’s artistic career and you can clearly see him denouncing impressionism and moving towards post impressionism with a constructive approach to the whole piece. 

The complete painting in full view

There is a clear path to the house and the beautiful trees around are an incredible addition to the piece. I also want to add how beautifully Cezzane painted the sky. I am not sure if Auvers is such a stunning place, but from Cezzane’s point of view it certainly looks like it.

Doctor Gachet and Van Gogh 

Van Gogh painted several pieces around Doctor Gachet as well, but the most important one is this portrait. Why? 

Because it is the most expensive painting in the world which was sold at $82.5 million in 1990 and now, its nowhere to be found. 

The Portrait of Doctor Gachet by Vincent Van Gogh

Gachet was a homeopathic doctor and given his soft spot for artists, Vincent’s brother Theo thought it would be best if Gachet treated him. This is one of the reasons why Gachet is also blamed for Vincent’s death. 

For the last 10 weeks of Van Gogh's life, Gachet had been treating him, and yet, he couldn’t do anything to help save Vincent. (To be honest, he reminds me of Michael Jackson’s doctor).

To add to the flame, Gachet’s son claimed that Vincent shot himself and it was speculated that Gachet’s daughter, Marguerite, had an affair with Vincent. While I completely dismiss the first part, the affair part could be true given how easily Vincent fell in love.

He painted Marguerite Gachet sitting by the piano a few weeks before his death. And after he died in 1890, Marguerite became a hermit and never left his father’s house until her death in 1946. 

Marguerite at the piano by Vincent Van Gogh

Was Doctor Gachet an attention seeker?

While I was researching about this particular doctor, I couldn't help but feel if he was just an attention seeker. He didn't do anything to save Vincent, it is said that he didn't even like the portrait that Vincent did for him, initially. 

In fact, it is believed that he was a failed artist and his most famous work is a small sketch he did of Vincent on his death bed. But let's be honest, the painting is only famous because he sketched Vincent Van Gogh.

Pathetic sketch by a wannabe doctor

It is also said that Gachet and his son did everything they could to increase the prices of the Van Gogh paintings they owned after Vincent's death.

Moreover, some historians also speculate that Gachet being an artist who loved replicating work of other artists might have created a few fake Van Gogh as well. (Mainly because the doctor claimed Vincent drew 76 paintings in his 80 day stay) 

There is another version of the Portrait of Doctor Gachet. This one in Van Gogh's signature Starry blue and there are a few things changed around the table. A lot of people think its fake because Van Gogh never mentioned the second version in any of his letters. He only mentioned the first painting. 

The second version. Do you think its fake?

Also, if you are duping Van Gogh, isn't it too obvious to choose his famous blue colour?

Where did the world’s most expensive painting go?

As per the disappearance of the Potrait of Doctor Gachet, it was bought by a Japanese man in 1990 for $82.5 million, who had joked and said he would take this painting to his grave. 

After he went bankrupt and died, there were efforts to find the painting but it was nowhere to be found. There were some murmurs that it was sold to an Austrian, but nobody knows where it is now. (Has anyone tried digging up this man’s grave? I don’t care how insensitive it is, its a Van Gogh probably worth $150 million today)

If you are reading this and you have seen this painting any where, don’t call the police. Call me and we will sell the painting, and then divide the payment 50-50.

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  1. Ritika this post and all your other posts have taken my breath away. Literally! I kid you not. It's fodder for my parched soul that has been seeking Van Goh for so long.
    Excuse me if I sound dramatic, but true and straight from the heart.

    Thank you, thank you for the well of information and beautiful posts!

    Blog: natashamusing
    Theme: Travel Epiphanies
    Happy Birthday to You

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Natasha. I actually know exactly how you feel. I think art has that effect on people:)

  2. Haha.. love your eye for detail matched with the sense of humour. Excellent stuff :D

    P.S. Now that I find he's a homeopath (whose 'science' I do not advocate at all), I'm siding with you = he must be the killer!

    1. Hahaha. He could be but his family is so rich now that I am sure no one cares

  3. What a curious story with all those little ambiguities. I'm not sure why, but something about the second painting seems off to me, so I think it's a fake. Loved the last paragraph!

    1. Me too! Its like a poorly done version of the first one. When artists are usually more precise with the second ones

  4. What an interesting narrative and how well you have written it down Ritika. I had no clue about these details about Van gogh's last days! You sure are digging up a treasure trove here with your theme.

    Theme: Peregrination Chronicles (travel)
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    1. Thanks a lot Shalz! I am glad you liked it :)

  5. Imagine that painting is lost forever!!!! What a shame.
    Tina Basu
    Twinkling Tina Cooks

    1. I still think it will turn up at some point just because of how valuable it is. Last year, 2 of Van Gogh's stolen paintings were recovered after 10 years

  6. The second version looks fake to me. The coat in the second version doesn't have buttons, but in the first version it does! Van Gogh doesn't seem like someone to make mistakes in a hurry, and the second version didn't give that 'wow' moment that I felt when I saw the first version! Also, the yellow in the first version does look somewhat similar to the yellow in the 'Cafe Terrace at Night', doesn't it?

    The last line was too hilarious :P

    1. Yes, its the same yellow tone from Cafe Terrace, Bedroom in Arles,Sunflowers, Van Gogh's chair, and many of his other paintings. I think he really liked that yellow and blue tone

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