After several partnerships from 1827 onwards, Adolphe Goupil formed Goupil & Cie in 1850. Over the next 34 years the partners were Adolphe Goupil 1850–84, Alfred Mainguet 1850–56, Léon Goupil 1854–55, Léon Boussod 1856–84, Vincent van Gogh 1861–72, Albert Goupil 1872–84, René Valadon 1878–84. Until 1861 the firm concentrated on buying, selling and editing prints. To feed an emerging middle-class market for inexpensive art, Goupil's factory outside Paris employed skilled craftsmen to produce engraved, etched, photographic and even sculptural copies of paintings in vast quantities. Goupil's reproductions made Jean-Léon Gérôme, in particular, a well known artist. Maison Goupil also promoted via their print reproductions, a significant number of works by Italian painters who worked for the publishing house during the 1870s, including paintings by Alberto Pasini and Francesco Paolo Michetti among others. When Vincent van Gogh (art dealer) (1820–1888), the uncle of painter Vincent van Gogh (who was known as Uncle Cent by Vincent and his brother Theo), entered the firm, the business was expanded to paintings and drawings, finally in 1872 to industrial images, including photographic and héliographic procedures.
Vincent van Gogh fell ill and retired in 1872, but left his money in the firm until 1878. His duties were taken over by Albert Goupil, son of Adolphe. When, in 1878, the van Gogh shares were finally withdrawn, René Valadon entered the business. From then on the firm was completely in the hands of the Goupil family and their sons-in-law Léon Boussod and René Valadon. In 1884 the Goupil family retired and the firm was again transformed and renamed Boussod, Valadon & Cie, successeurs de Goupil & Cie. Three years later, 25–27 May 1887, the stock of the gallery was sold at auction, "caused by the renewal of the ancient firm Goupil & Cie".
Manzi, an old friend of Degas as well as a highly skilled printer, and Maurice Joyant, originally Theo van Gogh's successor at 19 Boulevard Montmartre, joined forces, when Boussod & Valadon gave up their business.
"Uncle Cent", as he was called by his nephews, moved to Paris in 1858 and took residence at 9 Rue Chaptal, which housed Goupil's headquarters, too. In 1861, he became partner of Goupil & Cie, but retired in 1872, due to his degrading health, to settle in Princenhage for the summers and in Menton for the winters. Six years later, he withdrew his shares.
As Uncle Cent had no children, his nephews were evidently supposed to follow him up in the firm: Vincent entered in 1869, Theo in 1873. When Vincent was sacked by Léon Boussod in 1876, the balance between the shareholders suffered - and so Theo got his chance. Called to the Paris office for the time of the World Fair 1878, he was offered to stay in Paris. Between 1881 and 1890, Theo was manager of Goupil & Cie's branch on Boulevard Montmartre, from which he sold about 1,000 paintings, including works by members of the Barbizon School like Corot and Daubigny.