The Poet: Eugène Boch, portrait by Vincent van Gogh, 1888
1 September 1855|
Saint-Vaast, La Louvière, Hainaut
3 January 1941
Monthyon, Seine-et-Marne, France
Born into the 5th generation of the Boch family, a wealthy dynasty of manufacturers of fine china and ceramics, still active today under the firm of Villeroy & Boch, Eugène Boch enrolled in the private atelier of Léon Bonnat in Paris, in 1879. From 1882, when Bonnat closed his atelier, he studied at the atelier of Fernand Cormon. Paintings of his were admitted to the Salon in 1882, 1883 and 1885.
In 1892 he settled in Monthyon (Seine-and-Marne), not far from Paris. In 1909, he married Anne-Marie Léonie Crusfond (?-1933), in 1910 they moved to their recently erected chalet "La Grimpette", where both lived until their death.
Like his sister Anna Boch, Eugène supported artists of talent, but without money, including Émile Bernard, whom he met at the Atelier Cormon, and Paul Gauguin. Or he exchanged works, as with van Gogh. Thus little by little, an important collection of contemporary art came together. Besides his own portrait Eugène Boch owned a second van Gogh painting.
Like his sister Anna, Eugène Boch spent a large part of the funds, which they owed to their father's, Victor Boch, business success, on promoting other artists. They bought pictures from virtually all leading contemporaries of their time, the majority of whom were also their friends.
Upon Eugène Boch's death in 1941, he bequeathed The Poet – that is Van Gogh's title for his portrait of Eugène Boch, which Boch received from Johanna van Gogh-Bonger in accordance to the last will of Vincent and Theo – to the Louvre. Today the painting can be seen in the Paris Musee d'Orsay.
Part of his collection was bought by his great nephew Luitwin von Boch with the idea to make a Museum on Anna and Eugene Boch.
- Berko, Patrick & Viviane (1981), "Dictionary of Belgian painters born between 1750 & 1875", Knokke 1981, p. 51.
- Boch, Anna; Eugène Boch (1994). Hommage à Anna et Eugène Boch. Musée de Pontoise.
- Faider-Thomas, Thérèse (1971). Anna Boch und Eugène Boch: Werke aus den Anfängen der modernen Kunst. Mettlach, Villeroy & Boch. , Saarbrücken, May 6-June 6, 1971) Saarland Museum (Catalog of an exhibition held at the Moderne Galerie,
- (English) Eugene Boch.com – includes painting reproductions