Portrait of Marguerite Gachet by Van Gogh, 1890

The doctor and the painter

The second half of the nineteenth century. Doctor Gachet owns enough money to apply himself to his favourite activities: painting and treating painters. He is especially fond of welcoming famous ones into his practice.

He holds a doctorate based on his dissertation on melancholy. He is convinced that all great of the earth suffer from this condition. Including his own self.

Which means that he is in a perfect position to try out his own treatments. He grows his own herbs in his garden and brews elixirs which he takes daily. Cocktails with an intoxicating or sedating effect.

The artists who consult him are given generous doses from his home apothecary.

He lives in a small village where he hardly knows anyone. His wife has died and the nanny who moved in with him after her death, hardly does a thing. She teaches his two children how to read and write and then sends them off to their father’s library. They are not allowed to go to school. Their father is convinced that knowledge comes from books. They will just have to read.

The family lives as hermits, secluded from the rest of the world. Only the doctor travels to Paris regularly to meet artists. He also invites them to come and visit him. Most family members are send upstairs when they arrive.

When the eldest daughter, Marguerite, turns 21, Vincent van Gogh comes to her father looking for a cure for his depressions. He is practically the first man she ever meets.


Alyson Richman






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QfwYf2DnYk (01-16-2017 02:32):
You write so holtnesy about this. Thanks for sharing!

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