Vincent van Gogh’s 1890 Portrait of Dr. Gachet is a highly revered painting of his time. Two authentic versions of the portrait were painted by Van Gogh in June 1890 at Auvers-sur-Oise during his final months, shortly before his death. The painting was created as an homage to Dr. Paul Gachet, who took care of Van Gogh during the most difficult period of his life.
Dr. Paul Gachet was known for treating mainly artists and led an unconventional lifestyle that resonated with Vincent van Gogh’s own worldview. Interestingly, Dr. Gachet himself was an amateur artist and collector, which only further established their unique bond and shared passion for art.
The portrait showcases Dr. Gachet in a melancholic pose, highlighting “the desolate expression of our time.” The unusual tones used in the painting reflect Van Gogh’s vision to express emotions through color combinations rather than accurate representation.
In 1990, the first version of the Portrait of Dr. Gachet sold for $82 million–making it potentially a source for discussion about financial value versus artistic merit in modern times– breaking records as one of the most expensive paintings ever sold at that time.
Vincent van Gogh’s portrayal captured not only an individual but also an era’s essence flourishing within creative minds that remained understood by few outside their circle.