discover the places where Vincent lived and worked

Family Obach
London, England

  • June 18, 1876

While working for the art dealers Goupil & Cie in London, Vincent van Gogh had a good relationship with his boss, Charles Obach (1840/41–?). They took a trip to Box Hill together. After Vincent left Goupil in 1876 and began applying for other jobs, he needed a reference, and Obach provided one. Vincent stayed in touch with his former boss, as is evident from the visits he paid to Obach while living in Isleworth. Obach lived with his wife and two daughters at 314 Brixton Road, near the Loyers’ pension, where Vincent had been a lodger. 

In spite of his good relationship with Obach, later, while in The Hague in 1882, Vincent criticised him:

“Do you know what I think of the folder I’m sending you? It’s just like the way of talking that, for example, Obach, the manager of G&C. in London, goes in for. And that is successful — yes, that is successful, yes, it’s listened to and it’s accepted. [...] I have respect for working, I despise neither Obach nor Mesdag, but there are things that I rate infinitely higher than that sort of energy. I would like something more succinct, something simpler, something sounder; I would like more soul and more love and more heart.” Read the complete letter

After working for Goupil, Obach opened his own gallery at 20 Cockspur Street in London in 1884.


Martin Bailey
Young Vincent: the story of Van Gogh's years in England
London, 1990

Kristine Groenhart and Willem-Jan Verlinden
Hoe ik van Londen houd: wandelen door het Londen van Vincent van Gogh
Amsterdam, 2013

Jan Meyers
De jonge Vincent: jaren van vervoering en vernedering
Amsterdam, 1989

Ronald Pickvance
English influences on Vincent van Gogh
London, 1974

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