Goupil & Cie

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Galerie Goupil, place de l'Opéra Paris.

Adolphe Goupil was a leading art dealership in 19th-century France, with headquarters in Paris. Step by step, Goupil established a worldwide trade in fine art reproductions of paintings and sculptures, with a network of branches and agents in London, Brussels, The Hague, Berlin and Vienna, as well as in New York City and Australia. Instrumental for this expansion were the Ateliers Photographiques, a plant north of Paris, in Asnières, which took up work in 1869. The leading figure was Adolphe Goupil (1806–1893). His daughter Marie married the French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme.


The seascape painter, Charles Louis Mozin, introduced Rittner to the young Jean-Baptiste Adolphe Goupil, who was descended from the celebrated family of painters, the Drouais. They create together the maison Goupil in 1829.[1] The business is to print and sell prints (engravings and lithographs) in bvd. Montmartre in Paris.[1] From the outset the house specialised in the sale of engravings after pictures by Ingres, Hippolyte Delaroche and Léopold Robert. After Rittner's death, Goupil formed a partnership with Théodore Vibert, which was formalized in Paris in 1842.[2] In a ground-breaking move, the firm opened in New York in 1848 as Goupil, Vibert et cie. William Schaus became the first director of the New York branch, but was replaced by Adolphe Goupil's son, Léon, and then in 1855 by Michel Knoedler, who eventually bought out Goupil's interest in 1857.[3]

Adolphe Goupil formed Goupil & Cie in 1850. Over the next 34 years the partners were Adolphe Goupil 1850–84, Alfred Mainguet 1850–56, Léon Goupil 1854–55, Léon Boussod 1856–84, Vincent van Gogh 1861–72, Albert Goupil 1872–84, René Valadon 1878–84. Until 1861 the firm concentrated on buying, selling and editing prints. To feed an emerging middle-class market for inexpensive art, Goupil's factory outside Paris employed skilled craftsmen to produce engraved, etched, photographic and even sculptural copies of paintings in vast quantities. Goupil's reproductions made Jean-Léon Gérôme, in particular, a well known artist.[4] Maison Goupil also promoted via their print reproductions, a significant number of works by Italian painters who worked for the publishing house during the 1870s, including paintings by Alberto Pasini and Francesco Paolo Michetti among others.[5] When Vincent van Gogh (art dealer) (1820–1888),[6] the uncle of painter Vincent van Gogh, known as Uncle Cent by Vincent and his brother Theo, entered the firm, the business was expanded to paintings and drawings, finally in 1872 to industrial images, including photographic and héliographic procedures.

Vincent van Gogh fell ill and retired in 1872, but remained a partner until 1878. His duties were taken over by René Valadon. From then on the firm was completely in the hands of the Goupil family and their sons-in-law Léon Boussod and René Valadon. In 1884 Adolphe Goupil retired and the firm was again transformed and renamed Boussod, Valadon & Cie, successeurs de Goupil & Cie. Three years later, 25–27 May 1887, the stock of the gallery was sold at auction, "caused by the renewal of the ancient firm Goupil & Cie".

Headquarters and branches[edit]

Goupil & Cie, rue Chaptal (c.1860).
  • Paris
9 Rue Chaptal (Administration, gallery of paintings and storerooms)
  • Paris
19 Boulevard Montmartre
It was in Boulevard Montmartre (originally nos 12 and 15) that Adolphe Goupil first went into business. No. 19 became a simple sales room when the administration was moved to Rue Chaptal. From 1881 this branch was run by Theo van Gogh.
  • Paris
2 Place de l'Opéra
Goupil's main sales room established in 1870
  • New York
289 Broadway
Established in 1848.
  • The Hague
Plaats 14, since 1861 and moved in 1880 to Plaats 20
Established in the 1830s by Vincent van Gogh on Spuistraat, the gallery was transferred to Plaats 14, in 1861, when combined with Goupil
  • Brussels
58 Rue Montagne de la Cour / Hofberg 58
Established in 1865 by H. W. van Gogh; after his retirement this branch was run by V. Schmidt.
  • London
Established by Ernest Gambart. 17 Southampton Street. Moved to 25 Bedford Street, Strand in 1875 when Goupil & Cie took over Holloway & Sons and their salerooms.[7] Goupil's manager in London was at this time Charles Obach.
  • Berlin
Charlottenstrasse 63

Manzi & Joyant[edit]

Manzi, an old friend of Degas as well as a highly skilled printer, and Maurice Joyant, originally Theo van Gogh's successor at 19 Boulevard Montmartre, joined forces, when Boussod & Valadon gave up their business.

Goupil and Van Gogh[edit]

"Uncle Cent", as he was called by his nephews, moved to Paris in 1858 and took residence at 9 Rue Chaptal, which housed Goupil's headquarters, too. In 1861, he became partner of Goupil & Cie, but retired in 1872, due to his degrading health, to settle in Princenhage for the summers and in Menton for the winters. Six years later, he withdrew his shares.

As Uncle Cent had no children, his nephews were evidently supposed to follow him up in the firm: Vincent entered in 1869, Theo in 1873. When Vincent was sacked by Léon Boussod in 1876, the balance between the shareholders suffered - and so Theo got his chance. Called to the Paris office for the time of the World Fair 1878, he was offered to stay in Paris. Between 1881 and 1890, Theo was manager of Goupil & Cie's branch on Boulevard Montmartre, from which he sold about 1,000 paintings, including works by members of the Barbizon School like Corot and Daubigny.[8]

In these years, Vincent took up his vocation and began to study art, based on the Cours de dessin, compiled by Charles Bargue "in collaboration with J.-L. Gérôme" and edited by Goupil & Cie, 1868–1873. In 1880, he asked his former director Herman Gijsbert Tersteeg, at Goupil's in The Hague, to lend him a copy, which he finally received with the support of his brother Theo.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hélène Lafont-Couturier, « La maison Goupil ou la notion d'oeuvre originale remise en question », Revue de l'Art, no 112, 1996, p. 59 online.
  2. ^ Linda Whiteley, 'Art et commerce d'art en France avant l'époque impressionniste', Romantisme, 40, 1983, pp. 73-74.
  3. ^ Agnes Penot, The Perils and Perks of Trading Art Overseas: Goupil’s New York Branch, Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, 2017 (http://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/spring17/penot-on-the-perils-and-perks-of-trading-art-overseas-goupils-new-york-branch)
  4. ^ Ken Johnson, (April 20, 2001), A Return to the Junction Of Art and Commerce New York Times.
  5. ^ Rosalba Dinoia, ' The Maison Goupil and the Triumph of Italian Painters', Print Quarterly, XXXI, 2014, 2, pp.195-198.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Martin Bailey, Van Gogh in England, Barbican Art Gallery, London 1992, p. 11
  8. ^ Judith H. Dobrzynski, (June 13, 1999), ART REVIEW; A Return to the Junction Of Art and Commerce New York Times.

Further reading[edit]

  • Agnès Penot, La maison Goupil, Galerie d'art internationale au XIXe siècle, Paris, Mare & Martin, 2017
  • John Rewald, Theo van Gogh, Goupil, and the Impressionists, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, January & February 1973, p. 1-107
  • Chris Stolwijk & Richard Thompson, ed. Theo van Gogh (1857–1891), Art dealer, collector and brother of Vincent. Waanders, Zwolle 1999. ISBN 90-400-9359-8
  • Gérôme & Goupil: Art and Enterprise, Réunion de musées nationaux, Paris 2000 ISBN 2-7118-4152-9

External links[edit]