What is known about Thomas Cool 1851-1904 & Vincent van Gogh 1853-1890

Thomas Cool (Sneek 1851 - Bussum 1904) 

The Hague 1881-1886

Vincent van Gogh was in The Hague in 1881-1886 especially with Mauve. TC1851 was there too sometimes shortly or a bit longer between 1874 and 1887. After having been in Antwerpen (Nicaise de Keyser), TC1851 gets his teaching certificate in The Hague, and he visits regularly with (Jacob) Maris and De Bock. The letter to Cirprimo in 1895 shows he knows the artists in The Hague. It does not seem entirely impossible that Cool and Van Gogh met but there is no known record. (See this discussion in Dutch).

Bussum 1901

Returning from Rome in 1896, TC1851 and family shortly lived in Harlingen, then went to Villa Klein Delta, Gr. Wichmanlaan 19, Bussum. He let architect Kruisweg build the Villa Gerardina, at Boslaan 2 (now 2A), with the atelier on the corner of Parklaan, Bussum; and this is completed in 1901. (Now Gerard Unger works in the atelier.)

When Theo van Gogh died, his widow Jo Bonger (Dutch text) married Johan Cohen Gosschalk. They let architect Willem Bauer design Villa Eikenhof, Regentesselaan 39, Bussum, and they lived there in 1901-1903. 

The streets cross, see the walking distance between their homes. 

It is not clear how TC1851 met Cohen. Possibly from school-age children ? Theo's son V. W. Van Gogh (1890) is about the same age as TC1851's children Dien (1884), Tine (1887) and Gerrit (1889). Gerrit and V.W. both became engineers (Delft).

In a  letter of June 19 1901 from Dien to Tine: "'t Is van 't jaar een prachtige groote kermis. Moe en Gerrit gaan er ook al eens heen, want Mevrouw v.Gogh staat er ook met een onthoudingstent. Zij verkoopt van alles, ook aarbeien [sic], waar ik al wat van gesmuld heb!" ("This year the fair is wonderful and large. Mother and Gerrit go there too at times, because Mrs v.Gogh is there with an AA-stand. She sells all kinds of things, strawberries too, and I already feasted on a lot.")

Portret van Thomas Cool door Johan Cohen Gosschalk. (Portrait of Thomas Cool by Johan Cohen Gosschalk.) (Drents Museum)

About this portrait, TC1921 (1999): "Opgeborgen bij V. W. Van Gogh, te Bussum, d.d. 5-1-1938; Rozenlaantje 12 te Laren. Een verkleinde foto van het portret nu in het bezit [bij mij]." Above image is a scan of a photocopy of that smaller photograph. Apparently the original is now in the Drents Museum ?

It is not known what opinion Cohen Gosschalk had about TC1851's work, or what TC1851 thought about Van Gogh, and whether he saw his paintings in 1901 (and so on). 

Villa Eikenhof is mentioned in ths book by Irene Meyjes: "Johanna van Gogh-Bonger: kunsthandelaar?"
And Chris Stolwijk et al. "The account book of Theo van Gogh and Jo van Gogh-Bonger", see also here.

At the opening of the Van Gogh exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum in 1905, the Cool family was invited. In a lecture by ir. V.W. van Gogh in the Rijksmuseum, February 1 1975, he mentioned the early friendship. ("Mijn jeugdvriendjes waren o.a. de zoons van Van Eeden, een zoon van de schilder Thomas Cool (later scheepsbouwkundig ingenieur), de kinderen van Jan Veth.")

Indeed, in a closer look in the family archive two letters by ir. V.W. van Gogh surfaced, one to Tine in 1938 and one to Gerrit at Tine's death in 1944, in which he expresses fond memories and affection.

There is no record that paintings were exchanged or bought vice versa.