Le Tambourin was a restaurant and cabaret at 62 Boulevard de Clichy in Montmartre that was popular with artists. It was run by the Italian Agostina Segatori (1841–1910), with whom Vincent had an affair. He gave her floral still lifes to display in the café, hoping people would buy them, but no one did. When Le Tambourin went bankrupt in the summer of 1887, Vincent's paintings were probably auctioned off.
Vincent was a keen collector of Japanese prints, which he bought from the dealer Siegfried Bing, and in February–March 1887, he exhibited some for sale in Segatori’s café. Despite his considerable efforts, Vincent referred to the show as a failure in July 1888, although it had made a significant impact on the artists Émile Bernard and Louis Anquetin.
Vincent painted two portraits of the café manager Segatori, including In the Café: Agostina Segatori in Le Tambourin, which showed Japanese prints in the background in reference to the exhibition.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s drawing Vincent van Gogh shows Vincent at Le Tambourin.