Émile Schuffenecker (1851-1934) owes his career as a painter to Gauguin. When they both worked at Bertin’s, the stockbroker, it was in fact Schuffenecker, who adored drawing, who would take his colleague to museums and night classes at the Académie Suisse, and it would be Gauguin (who nicknamed him “le bon Schuff” [good old Schuff]) who would find unfailing moral and financial support in Schuffenecker. Lodging with him for many years, Gauguin painted La famille Schuffenecker [The Schuffenecker family] (Musée d’Orsay) in 1889, a work in which the artist allowed Schuffenecker’s subdued character and marital difficulties to show through subtly.
An admirer of Gauguin, Cézanne, and especially Van Gogh, Schuffenecker would become their main collector, gathering a fabulous collection he was devastated to have to sell during his divorce of 1904. It was then that, for reasons that are not altogether clear, he became a forger and produced several copies of Van Gogh’s work.