Gachet is one of the most revered paintings by the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh. Paul Gachet who took care of Van Gogh during the the portrait of my mother painting for children months of his life.
In 1890, Van Gogh’s brother Theo was searching for a home for the artist upon his release from an asylum at Saint-Rémy. Vincent van Gogh’s first impression of Gachet was unfavorable. Writing to Theo he remarked: “I think that we must not count on Dr. First of all, he is sicker than I am, I think, or shall we say just as much, so that’s that. Now when one blind man leads another blind man, don’t they both fall into the ditch? Van Gogh’s thoughts returned several times to the painting by Eugène Delacroix of Torquato Tasso in the madhouse.
I’ve done the portrait of M. Gachet with a melancholy expression, which might well seem like a grimace to those who see it Sad but gentle, yet clear and intelligent, that is how many portraits ought to be done There are modern heads that may be looked at for a long time, and that may perhaps be looked back on with longing a hundred years later. Van Gogh painted Gachet resting his right elbow on a red table, head in hand. Two yellow books as well as the purple medicinal herb foxglove are displayed on the table. The foxglove in the painting is a plant from which digitalis is extracted for the treatment of certain heart complaints, perhaps an attribute of Gachet as a physician. The doctor’s “sensitive face”, which Van Gogh wrote to Paul Gauguin carried “the heartbroken expression of our time”, is described by Robert Wallace as the portrait’s focus. Gachet, Van Gogh sought to create a “modern portrait”, which he wrote to his sister “impassions me most—much, much more than all the rest of my métier.