Van Gogh in Paris, France
- May 12, 1873 - May 18, 1873
- October 26, 1874 - December 25, 1874
- May 14, 1875 - March 31, 1876
- February 28, 1886 - February 19, 1888
- May 17, 1890 - May 19, 1890
- July 6, 1890
Vincent made his first visit to Paris in May 1873. He spent a few days in the city, visiting museums and the headquarters of his employers, the international art dealers Goupil & Cie. He then left for England to work in the firm’s London branch. In autumn 1874, Goupil transferred him from London to Paris for two months.
A permanent transfer followed in May 1875. Vincent worked in Goupil & Cie’s headquarters each day and lived in a small rented room at an unknown address in Montmartre. He became friends with the Englishman Harry Gladwell, who lived in the same apartment. Vincent had become increasingly fanatical about religion, and he read the Bible aloud to Gladwell and roamed from church to church on Sundays, attending services across Paris from early morning until evening. He and Gladwell also made weekly visits to museums such as the Louvre and Musée du Luxembourg. It was in Paris that Vincent's career in the art trade ended. Goupil dismissed him on 1 April 1876, officially because of an unannounced absence during the Christmas rush, but his none-too-friendly attitude to clients must have played a part.
Ten years later, after his peregrinations had taken him to Ramsgate, Isleworth, Dordrecht, Amsterdam, Brussels, Drenthe, Nuenen and Antwerp, Vincent moved back to Paris. By then, he had developed as an artist and sought to hone his life drawing skills at the studio of the artist Fernand Cormon. This time, Vincent lived with his brother Theo, a manager at Boussod, Valadon & Cie (the successor to Goupil & Cie). In Paris, Vincent acquainted himself with the work of the Impressionists, struck up friendships with artists such as John Peter Russell, Émile Bernard, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Paul Signac, organised exhibitions, advocated for an artists’ association, and began building an art collection with his brother. His work changed markedly during this time; he began using brighter, lighter colours and experimenting with different painting techniques. Vincent enjoyed Paris at first, but he found urban life stressful, and after two years, he abandoned the city for sunny Arles in the south of France.