VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890)
L'Homme à la Pipe: Portrait du Docteur Gachet
etching printed in brown with an even plate tone, 1890, on Arches laid paper, a very good impression of the artist's only etching, printed by the artist with Dr. P. F. Gachet, or by Dr. Gachet alone, with Gachet's inscription `(Vincent) Van Gogh' (lower right, recto) and 'L'homme à la pipe - Eau forte unique de (Vincent) Van Gogh, peintre et dessinateur hollandais mort le 28 juillet 1890' (lower centre, verso) in ink
Plate 179 x 150 mm.
Sheet 318 x 228 mm.
Dr. P. F. Gachet (1828-1909), Auvers-sur-Oise (Lugt 1195b).
With Tokyo Gallery, Tokyo (their label verso).
Acquired from the above by the present owners.
De la Faille 1664; van Heugten & Pabst 10
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Lot Essay

Dr. Paul Gachet (1828-1909), homeopathic doctor, collector and friend of many Impressionist and Post Impressionist painters, nursed Van Gogh through the final weeks of his life. He is immortalized in this expressive print, Van Gogh's only etching, and in two painted portraits.

After his initial experiments with lithography, Van Gogh was introduced to etching by Dr. Gachet, who was himself an etcher of some skill. Van Gogh sent impressions of the etching to his friend Gauguin and his brother Theo, eliciting the latter's enthusiastic response in a letter dated 23 June, 1890: 'And now I must tell you something about your etching. It is a true painter's etching. No refinement in the execution, but a drawing on metal. I find it a very beautiful drawing.'

In their census of L'Homme à la pipe van Heugten and Pabst documented a total of 61 known impressions, which they divided into four groups:
I. impressions printed by the artist with the assistance of Dr. P. F. Gachet (14);
II. impressions printed by the artist and Dr. P. F. Gachet, or by Dr. P. F. Gachet alone (6);
III. impressions printed by Dr. P. F. Gachet alone (13);
IV. impressions printed by Paul Gachet Jr. (Dr. Gachet’s son) or by the master printer Eugène Delâtre, after 1909 (28).

The present impression is not recorded in van Heugten and Pabst's census. The ink inscriptions by Dr. Gachet though suggest it belongs to the second or third groups (none of the 14 impressions of the first group are annotated by Gachet).

Within groups two and three a total of five other impressions printed in red and brown are recorded, of which three are in public or institutional collections (MFA, Boston; Fondation Pierre Gainadda, Martigny; Albertina, Vienna).

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