Siegfried Bing (1838–1905) dealt in Chinese and Japanese art and applied art from his business on Rue Chauchat. Vincent went there often; he had become interested in Japanese prints in Antwerp and had gradually begun collecting them. He expanded his collection substantially in Paris. More than a hobby, the prints served as a major source of inspiration for his work. He searched through the tall stacks in Bing's attic to find ones he liked.
Vincent was so enthusiastic about Japanese art that he directed other artists to Bing’s gallery and organised an exhibition of prints at the café-restaurant Le Tambourin in February–March 1887. Artists such as Émile Bernard and Louis Anquetin subsequently took up influences from Japanese art in their work.
When Vincent was living in Arles in 1888, he asserted that all his work was more or less based on Japanese art and expressed his high regard for it:
“Japanese art is something like the primitives, like the Greeks, like our old Dutchmen, Rembrandt, Potter, Hals, Vermeer, Ostade, Ruisdael. It doesn’t end.” Read the complete letter
Although he no longer lived in Paris, Vincent tried to get Theo to add prints to their collection. On 15 July 1888, he wrote:
“But take the Hokusais as well then, 300 views of the sacred mountain and scenes of manners and customs. There’s an attic at Bing’s, and in it there’s a heap of 10 thousand Japanese prints, landscapes, figures, old Japanese prints too. One Sunday he’ll let you choose for yourself, so take plenty of old sheets too.” Read the complete letter
Bing had two other premises in Paris, respectively located at 13 Rue Bleue and 19 Rue de la Paix (the latter closed in 1886).