Agostina Segatori Sitting in the Café du Tambourin, 1887 by Vincent van Gogh

Due to the reluctance of larger galleries to hang paintings by the avant-garde artists of the time, many artists resorted to persuading cafes and clubs to hang their works, or to stage their own exhibitions. Van Gogh hung a number of his works alongside paintings by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Emile Bernard (1868-1941) and Louis Anquetin at La Tambourin, a cafe owned by an exotic Italian woman, Agostina Segatori. La Segatori was a former artists' model, having modelled for Edgar Degas, and was according to Bernard, having an affair with Van Gogh. Certainly, they had a professional relationship, and correspondence between Theo and Van Gogh would also seem to indicate a personal one. She is believed to be the model in this painting and in his Portrait of an Italian Woman, painted the same year. Van Gogh later fell out with La Segatori and is reputed to have removed all his paintings from the cafe, wheeling them away in a handcart. His interest and absorption of Japanese art is evident in this painting, and at around the same time as painting this, he organized an exhibition of Japanese prints to hang at the cafe.