Goupil & Cie  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Goupil & Cie was a leading art dealership in 19th century France, with headquarters in Paris. Step by step, Goupil established a worldwide trade with reproductions of paintings and sculptures, with a network of branches in London, Brussels, The Hague, Berlin and Vienna, as well as in New York and Australia. Instrumental for this expansion were the Ateliers Photographiques, a plant north of Paris, in Asnières, which took up work in 1869. The leading figure was Adolphe Goupil (1806–1893). His daughter Marie married the French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme.

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Goupil & Cie

After various restructurations, Goupil & Cie was formed in 1850; the partners were Adolphe Goupil 1850–1884, Alfred Mainguet 1850–1856, Léon Goupil 1854–1855, Léon Boussod 1856–1884, Vincent van Gogh 1861–1872, Albert Goupil 1872–1884, René Valadon 1878–1884. Until 1861, the firm concentrated on buying, selling and editing prints. Then Vincent van Gogh (1820–1888), uncle and godfather of the painter, entered the firm, the business was expanded to paintings and drawings, finally in 1872 to industrial images, including photographic and héliographic procedures.

Vincent van Gogh fell ill and retired in 1872, but he left his money in the firm until 1878. Albert Goupil, son of Adolphe, took over his duties. When in 1878 the Van Gogh shares were finally withdrawn, René Valadon entered the business. From then the firm was completely in the hand of the Goupil family and their sons-in-law Léon Boussod and René Valadon. When in 1884 the Goupil family retired, the firm was again transformed and renamed in Boussod, Valadon & Cie, successeurs de Goupil & Cie. Three years later, May 25-27, 1887, the stock of the gallery was sold at auction, "caused by the renewal of the ancient firm Goupil & Cie".

Headquarters and branches

  • Paris
9 Rue Chaptal (Administration and storerooms)
  • Paris
19 Boulevard Montmartre
Originally the place, where Adolphe Goupil started his business, it became a simple saleroom, when the administration was moved to Rue Chaptal. From 1881 this branch was run by Theo van Gogh.
  • Paris
2 Place de l'Opéra
Goupil's main sales room displaying Old Masters as well as the contemporary Salon
  • New York
289 Broadway
Established in 1846 by Léon Goupil.
  • The Hague
Plaats 14, since 1861 and moved in 1880 to Plaats 20
Established in the 1830s by Vincent van Gogh on Spuistraat, the gallery was transferred to Plaats 14, in 1861, when fusioned with Goupil
  • Brussels
58 Rue Montagne de la Cour / Hofberg 58
Established in 1865 by H. W. van Gogh; after his retirement this branch was run by V. Schmidt.
  • London
Established by Ernest Gambart. 17 Southampton Street. Moved to 25 Bedford Street, Strand in 1875 when Goupil & Cie took over Holloway & Sons and their salerooms.<ref>Martin Bailey, Van Gogh in England, Barbican Art Gallery, London 1992, p. 11</ref> Goupil's manager in London was at this time Charles Obach.
  • Berlin
Charlottenstrasse 63
  • Vienna
  • Australia

Manzi & Joyant

Manzi, an old friend of Degas as well as a highly skilled printer, and Maurice Joyant, originally Theo van Gogh's successor at 19 Boulevard Montmartre, joined forces, when Boussod & Valadon gave up their business.

Goupil and Van Gogh

"Uncle Cent", as he was called by his nephews, moved to Paris in 1858 and took residence at 9 Rue Chaptal, which housed Goupil's head quarters, too. In 1861, he became partner of Goupil & Cie, but retired in 1872, due to his degrading health, to settle in Princenhage for the summers and in Menton for the winters. Six years later, he withdrew his shares.

As Uncle Cent had no children, his nephews were evidently supposed to follow him up in the firm: Vincent entered in 1869, Theo in 1873. When Vincent was sacked by Léon Boussod in 1876, the balance between the shareholders suffered - and so Theo got his chance. Called to the Paris office for the time of the World Fair 1878, he was offered to stay in Paris, and finally entrusted with the direction of the branch on Boulevard Montmartre.

In these years, Vincent took up his vocation and began to study art, based on the Cours de dessin, compiled by Charles Bargue "in collaboration with J.-L. Gérôme" and edited by Goupil & Cie, 1868–1873. In 1880, he asked his former director Herman Gijsbert Tersteeg, at Goupil's in The Hague, to lend him a copy, which he finally received with the support of his brother Theo.

See also




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