Gachet, Dr Paul (1828-1909) Perhaps one of the most fascinating figures in the history of Impressionism, he was a doctor who specialized in homeopathy, a psychiatrist, an engraver, a Darwinian, a Socialist and a consistently helpful and generous patron and friend to all those artists with whom he came into contact. As a young student in Paris he had frequented the Brasserie des Martyrs, and after concluding his medical studies at Montpellier he became a frequenter of the seminal Café Guerbois. He bought a house at Auvers-sur-Oise and, in his studio there, became an enthusiastic engraver, partly as a consequence of his earlier contacts with Daumier, Charles Méryon and Rodolphe Bresdin, artists whose styles were reflected in his own. He signed his works `Paul van Ryssel', deriving the surname from his native village near Lille.
It was in this studio that several of the Impressionists took up etching: Cézanne produced there an etching of Guillaumin, as well as painting a number of flower pieces arranged in Delft vases for him by the doctor's wife. On the recommendation of Pissarro, Gachet took Vincent van Gogh into his house in 1890, and it was in Auvers that he committed suicide. Gachet's great collection of paintings by all the major figures of the movement was given to the state by his son and is now in the Musée d'Orsay.