The art dealers Boussod, Valadon & Cie, known as Goupil & Cie until 1884, played an important role in the Van Goghs’ lives. Vincent’s uncle, also named Vincent van Gogh, had been a partner in the firm since 1861 and had founded the branch in The Hague. Vincent worked for Goupil in The Hague, London and Paris from 1869 to 1876, and his younger brother Theo worked for the firm from 1873.
While the creation and sale of reproductions comprised the core of its business, the firm also sold original works by prominent artists such as Léon Augustin Lhermitte, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Vittorio Matteo Corcos, Camille Corot, Claude Monet, Charles-François Daubigny and Adolphe Monticelli. It faced powerful competition in Paris in the form of the Georges Petit and Durand-Ruel galleries.
In 1881, Theo became the manager of Goupil’s Boulevard Montmartre gallery, one of three locations in Paris. The firm’s headquarters was at 9 Rue Chaptal, and Vincent worked there in 1875–76. The two galleries were at 19 Boulevard Montmartre and 2 Place de L’Opera. The latter must have been grand and prestigious; after seeing it on an 1873 visit to the city, Vincent wrote: