The Parisian art dealer Pierre Firmin Martin (1817–1891), also known as Père Martin, mainly sold work by the Barbizon school artists and the Impressionists. He also exhibited a number of Vincent's paintings in 1887 and 1888. Vincent's art was also displayed in Julien Tanguy’s shop and Georges Thomas’s gallery during this period. None of the three dealers managed to sell much of his work, however.
Vincent liked Martin and valued his opinion. He wrote to his brother Theo in June 1888:
“Can we now paint the sower with colour, with simultaneous contrast between yellow and purple for example (like Delacroix’s Apollo ceiling, which is precisely yellow and purple), yes or no? Yes — definitely. So do it then! — yes — that’s what père Martin says too, ‘you must make the masterpiece’.”
Two weeks later, Vincent referred to Martin's statement again:
Vincent painted a portrait of Martin's wife’s niece Léonie Rose Charbuy-Davy, who lived with the couple.