From the age of 16, Vincent worked for the international art dealers Goupil & Cie, which changed its name to Boussod, Valadon & Cie in 1884. Vincent started in the Hague branch and later moved to the London outpost. In October 1874, he was transferred for two months to the headquarters at 9 Rue Chaptal in Paris, and six months later he was sent there again for an unspecified period. The Paris branch comprised the heart of the Goupil empire, and the firm, whose core business was selling reproductions, built a hotel there containing studios for its artists in 1857.
Little is known about Vincent's days at Goupil & Cie in Paris. His dedication to work had waned, and religion preoccupied him: he spent most of his time reading the Bible and going to church.
In December 1875, without conferring with his supervisor, Vincent went to celebrate Christmas at his parents’ house in Etten. The firm did not appreciate being let down at such a busy time of year. In early January, after an unpleasant conversation with his boss, Léon Boussod, Vincent’s employment was terminated as of 1 April 1876. In a letter to his brother, he admitted:
“I’ve certainly done things that were in some way very wrong, and so have little to say.─” Read the complete letter
The family was ashamed at this turn of events. Vincent’s job loss put a decisive end to a relationship with Goupil that had lasted more than six years. His friend Harry Gladwell, in whose house Vincent had lived, took over his job. When Vincent returned to Paris in 1886, he probably visited the gallery to see the art.
In 1888, Vincent reflected on his time at Goupil:
“... after however working there for 6 years we were absolutely dissatisfied on both sides with everything, them with me, me with them. It’s an old story, but all the same that’s how it is.” Read the complete letter