Marguerite Gachet au piano, 1890
Marguerite Gachet on the piano
The painting was created during van Gogh's stay in Auvers-sur-Oise, a town north-west of Paris. He went there in May 1890 to seek treatment from Paul Gachet. Gachet was one of the first collectors of Impressionist art, in Auvers he had set up a small studio in which he painted and etched. The person depicted is one of the two children of the widowed Gachet, Maguerite Gachet (1869-1949, in some sources: 1871-1949). Only she lived with him at the time. In the early summer of 1890 Gachet van Gogh showed an etching that he had made in 1873 by his wife, Marguerite's mother. It shows the mother playing the piano and is generally seen as the trigger for van Gogh's composition. He gave the portrait on the piano as a present. She kept it in her own room until her brother Paul put it up for sale. A delegation from the Basel Art Commission, consisting of the director Otto Fischer and Rudolf Staechelin, traveled to Auvers and examined the painting, which was acquired in 1934 for the modern department of the Basel Public Art Collection.
Vincent van Gogh, Marguerite Gachet au piano, 1890
Kunstmuseum Basel, online collection http://sammlungonline.kunstmuseumbasel.ch/eMuseumPlus 14.02.2018