The last two months of Van Gogh’s life were spent in a country village, Auvers-sur-Oise, a trainride away from Paris, under the care of Dr. Gachet. More than a physician, Gachet also befriended his patients and collected their art: Pissarro, Cezanne, Gaugin, and Van Gogh, leading a secret life of his own. During the last days of his life which ended in suicide, Van Gogh painted two portraits of Dr. Gachet’s daughter. The author’s interest in the life of this silent young woman was peaked after attending an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1999 which included paintings from Gachet’s collection and photographs of the house. In reading the exhibition catalog, she came upon a footnote regarding the sale of the painting “Mademoiselle Gachet at the Piano” which had hung in her room for forty years, was removed and sold by her brother, Paul. Had there been a relationship between the frenzied artist-patient and the shy Marguerite? What had been the family dynamics, particularly interacting with Van Gogh, as both Dr. Gachet and his son were would-be artists, themselves? Richards diligently researched her material and created a plausible tale or love, art and more.
Reviewed by: Cathy B.
Check our catalog