When Gladwells met Van Gogh (124th anniversary of Van Gogh’s death)

The standing of Gladwell & Company in today’s art world owes much to Vincent Van Gogh, so to commemorate and honor the Dutch artist, we would like to share with you the story of when Harry Gladwell met Vincent van Gogh.


“They will surely recognize my work later on… and write about me when I’m dead and gone. I shall take care of that, if I can keep alive for some little time.”

Vincent van Gogh to Anton Kerssemakers, 1885. 

In late 1875, Henry Gladwell was sent to Paris to gain experience in the trade at Goupils the French art dealer. It was at this gallery that young Gladwell first met Van Gogh who was also working at Goupils at the time.

The two of them ended up sharing lodgings in Montmartre where the slightly older Van Gogh tutored Henry in all things, from eating out in France, through numerous educational visits to the many museums in Paris and the pleasure of print collecting. Detailed mention of their daily life is to be found in the text of at least 31 letters written by Van Gogh to his brother Theo, the last having been written in November 1885.

vangogh-letterTranslation: Gladwell brought me to the train last Friday evening. On my birthday he came in the morning at half past six already, and brought a very beautiful etching after Chauvel for me, an autumn landscape with a flock of sheep on a sandy road.


One can be assured that this educational process would have had much to do with the development of Henry in order to prepare him for his future in Gladwell & Company and its continuing progression to where it is today.

My own, personal favourite painting by the Master is the “Potato Eaters” (pictured above) where he depicts the questionable charm of a rustic cottage interior with the rather crude eating habits of the peasants. The whole atmosphere is artistic perfection, painted with deep feeling but without sentimentality, which only a genius can capture.

How tragic that so often a life is cut short far too early.


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