Paul GAUGUIN (1848-1903)
1887 Gauguin in Martinique
2019 SOLD for $ 8.2M including premium
Gauguin has given up his job as a stockbroker since 1884, but art does not compensate. His financial and family difficulties become critical. He believes finding an Eldorado through the campaign of exalting and deceptive advertisements for the construction of the Panama Canal by the French. With Charles Laval, a young artist whom he had met at Pont-Aven, he leaves in April 1887 for Panama.
Panama does not offer wealth to its workers but rather malaria and yellow fever. The two adventurers are repatriated in June 1887 by a French boat which they leave in Martinique.
In the tropics, Gauguin finds the atmosphere of primordial society that he did not feel enough in Brittany. Due to racial differences, he is no longer handicapped by his brawling and quarreling temperament. He paints the bright colors of the landscape and the rural life.
On May 14 in New York, Sotheby's sells Chemin sous les palmiers, oil on canvas 89 x 60 cm, lot 18 estimated $ 6M. The tweet below is the detail of the top of the image.
After living for five months in a hut in Martinique, Gauguin brings back in France his finally retrieved enthusiasm, along with dysentery and marsh fever. He had developed in the Antilles a theory of painting from imagination that he will try in vain to inculcate to van Gogh.
Painted in 1887, 'Chemin sous les palmiers' encapsulates Paul Gauguin's life-long interest in depicting the unfamiliar. Discover this highlight from #SothebysImpMod Evening Sale on 14 May in #NYC, on offer from The Levy Family Collection: https://t.co/O6aU6VFdGC pic.twitter.com/iZw703xITN— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) April 26, 2019
1888 Study of the Iridescent Spectrum
2018 SOLD for $ 35M including premium
In January 1888 the artist quietly begins his second stay in Pont-Aven. He takes the time to walk on the Wild Coast and observes that the colors of the swell in heavy weather meet his theory.
On May 8 in New York, Christie's sells as lot 6 La Vague, oil on canvas 60 x 73 cm painted by Gauguin in 1888. A strong wave hits a group of high rocks in the open sea. Two bathers flee the tide onto the vermilion beach.
This painting, unusual and perhaps even unique in Gauguin's art, was included in the 1891 auction set up by the artist to finance his departure for Oceania. Its title in the catalog, La Vague (arc-en-ciel), seems enigmatic but provides the key for the interpretation.
There is no sky or rain in this picture. Arc-en-ciel is here the bow-shaped iridescent spectrum on the sea, passing from pale violet to yellow when the prismatic depth of the water decreases while approaching the coast. With a surprising modernism the unreal color of the beach is the ultimate extension of that spectral decomposition.
Gauguin's Vague was purchased in that auction by a collector of Japanese prints probably attracted by the similarity of theme with The Wave by Hokusai. The comparison stops here because the view taken by Gauguin from the top of the cliff has no close-up.
Despite Gauguin's admiration for Degas, the completely off-center position of the two women is secondary in this composition. Their difference of scale in the face of the grandiose nature is however not without relation to the metaphysical questions of the artist.
Please watch the video shared by Christie's.
1892 Te Poipoi (le matin) by Paul Gauguin
2007 SOLD 39 M$ including premium by Sotheby's
1892 The Tropical Peace of Paul Gauguin
2017 SOLD for £ 20.3M including premium
In 1892 in Mataiea, he meets his dream of developing a new art based on a subtle blend between the observation of landscapes and people and an exaggerated imagination of colors that will soon influence Matisse. His ideal landscape is not a topographical reality. His characters and horses are fixed for eternity in a static occupation.
Te Hare (la maison), oil on canvas 73 x 92 cm, is one of these peaceful scenes. This house is the hut that the painter rents in the village. Or not : it does not matter. It is dominated by a tall hibiscus tree. The extreme colors of tree and hills express the tropical moisture.
The rejection of Europe by Gauguin is extremely violent but not final. He returns to France with the intention of showing how his art has evolved. The exhibition of his Tahitian masterpieces by Durand-Ruel in 1894 horrifies Monet, Renoir and Pissarro. In the sale organized in 1895 at Drouot to finance the last exile of Gauguin, Te Hare is acquired by Daniel Halévy, encouraged by the last master who still understood and encouraged the artist, Edgar Degas.
Te Hare was sold in November 7, 1991 by Ader Picard Tajan for FF 52M, a very high price for that time. This painting is estimated £ 12M for sale by Christie's in London on February 28, lot 18. Painted in the same year, Le Vallon, 42 x 67 cm, was sold for £ 6.4M including premium by Christie's on June 21, 2011.
Please watch the video shared by Christie's :
1892 Gauguin in the Enchanted Valley
2011 SOLD 6.4 M£ including premium
This great interpreter of human nature is enchanted by the landscape. This valley surrounded by mountains is his own Montagne Sainte-Victoire, with its collision of colors and the harmony of its lines.
There are indeed Cézannian accents in Gauguin's Vallon, oil on canvas, 42 x 67 cm, for sale by Christie's in London on June 21. Nature is grand but not hostile. Far, very far away, peasants are going to the fields without addressing the presence of the artist.
This painting, which comes directly from the Beyeler estate, is estimated £ 5.5 M. It is shown in the press release shared by AuctionPublicity.
POST SALE COMMENT
The result, £ 6.4 million including premium, has remained close to the lower estimate. No surprise.
1891-1893 Gauguin fled from Europe
2011 SOLD 11.3 M$ including premium
He is not really beside but actually ahead of his time with his paintings showing bold compositions and bright colors and his iconoclastic themes. He also embodies the new taste for primitivism, like the somehow naive philosophers of the eighteenth century who attempted empathy with the "noble savages".
Arriving in Tahiti, he believes finding there the freedom of thought, and also the sexual liberty. The young Tahitian women inspire him. The wooden sculpture for sale by Sotheby's in New York on May 3 dates from this period of euphoria which ends in 1894 by his return to France.
It is the head of a young Tahitian woman with a serene expression, 24 cm high. The artist made for this piece a pair of ear ornaments in boxwood and a necklace of coral and shells in native style with five rows which all remained in place on the statue.
As Modigliani will do after him, Gauguin was able to express in a bust his view of the ideal woman. He will present this so personal work to the daughter of a critic who was not hostile to his art. Today, $ 10M are expected.
The image is shared by Artdaily.
POST SALE COMMENT
The price is high, but no surprise: $ 11.3 million including premium.
1886 reworked 1893-1895 Fleurs dans un vase by Gauguin
2018 SOLD for $ 19.4M including premium by Christie's
1894 The Monotype of the Idol
2015 SOLD for £ 266K including premium
In 1894, Paul Gauguin has returned from his first trip to Tahiti, with a renewal of his mystical themes and of his dreamlike impulses. He is very interested in prints whose proper artistic possibilities have recently been demonstrated by Edvard Munch.
The line of Gauguin's drawing is sharp and his bold colors meet the partitioning. The Polynesian mystery deserves better. Gauguin is neither Manet or Monet and he is even less Van Gogh. Probably too impatient to put by the brush the delicate shades of colors, he seeks a solution through the monotype.
On September 16 in London, Christie's sells a monotype 27 x 24 cm made by Gauguin in 1894, lot 17 estimated £ 200K. Three other proofs are known from the same basic drawing but are the result of different monotypes, probably made with the same glass plate that had been successively cleaned.
A thoughtful young woman sitting beside a pool is ambushed by an idol behind the columns. The deliberately less readable background probably hides other ghosts. This work enters the Arearea no varua ino series (the spell of the devil), suggesting that this observer is a tempting spirit.
This monotype was prepared on a glass plate in watercolor or gouache interspersed with various pigments in a thick texture that left mixed traces on the paper of the final print. The handling pressure created the blurring effect sought by the artist for this supernatural scene.
This print was recently discovered. It is mounted in a frame made by Degas who was probably its first owner. Its disassembly was exciting. It is demonstrated in the video shared by Christie's.
ca 1895 Still Life of Tropical Fruits
2015 SOLD for £ 11.6M including premium
He found what he expected but his own living conditions were precarious. He pulled away from Papeete too dependent for his concern upon the French administration. In the countryside, he did not accept barter in a village community which had no monetary use. Close to misery, he could not acquire canvases and carved more than he himself had desired. This first stay had lasted two years, from 1891 to 1893.
The second stay began in 1895. He organized it better in order for it to be more sustainable and he worked more conveniently on his mystical themes animated by the figures of the Polynesians.
Gauguin admired the still life by Cézanne. He however executed very few still lifes during his first stay. A composition with fruits and chillies painted in Tahiti in 1892, 32 x 66 cm, was sold for $ 12.4 million including premium by Christie's on November 6, 2007.
A still life of mangos, oil on canvas 30 x 47 cm, was sold for £ 3.6 million including premium by Sotheby's in London on 20 June 2005. It comes back in the same auction room on June 24, lot 11estimated £ 10M.
Undated, this painting was done during the first visit or, more likely, at the beginning of the second in 1895 or 1896. The extensive correspondence left by Gauguin leaves no doubt as to his intention: he practiced still life to keep cool between two mystic quests.
The angular composition is bold like a Cézanne, but the use of strong colors, deliberately exaggerated to reach the splendor while refusing to copy the nature, is similar as in Gauguin's landscapes. The displaying of mangos is a new challenge by the artist to the European civilization. It is not new in his art since he had already chosen this theme during his stay in Martinique in 1887.
1896 Gauguin keeping cool in Tahiti
2010 SOLD 5.5 MCHF before fees
At the end of his stay in Brittany, the Vision of the Sermon (Jacob's Fight with the Angel) (1889) was a social and religious critical comment, one of the most powerful images from the metaphysical art, but also, of course, the expression of his own doubts and anxieties. It was urgent that Gauguin keeps cool.
The Tahitian vahines are not the gullible Breton women of the Sermon, whom they do not know. Their peaceful life, close to nature, provides a boost of inspiration to the artist.
A group of women is shown in the oil on canvas dated 1896 titled Te Arii vahine. The two women in the foreground are nude and quiet. The lot is for sale on June 18 by Galerie Kornfeld in Bern. Its small size, 26 x 32 cm, assigned a reasonable estimate, 2 MCHF.
It is however an important work, one of those which prepared the two masterpieces of the Polynesian period of Gauguin: the calmed metaphysics of Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going? (1897) and the tribute to the women in And the Gold of their Bodies (1901).
POST SALE COMMENT
Excellent result, 5.5 million CHF excluding fees, for this small size painting that I considered outstanding.
The examples of masterpieces of modern art sold outside the channels of multinational groups are rare. This observation reinforces the merit of Galerie Kornfeld. Bravo.
1899 Maternité by Gauguin
2004 SOLD for $ 39M including premium by Sotheby's
1902 The Idol of the Maison du Jouir
2015 SOLD for $ 31M including premium
Gauguin blamed the Catholics for their hypocritical opposition to sexual freedom and rejoiced about the weaknesses of the prelates. He purchased a piece of land to the local bishop to build his home which he decorated as a temple to pornography under the complacently inscribed name Maison du Jouir (House of orgasm). He bought a young vahine, achieving to generate the total exasperation of the missionaries.
This exiled artist has humor. The best exhibition place in the Maison du Jouir is the door, visible from outside. Around August 1902, Gauguin installs two statues made by him in rosewood in native style. The man, Père Paillard (Father Debauchery), is a caricature of the bishop as a horned devil. The woman, Thérèse, is inspired by the gossip that the servant of the bishop was also his mistress.
On this phallic shaped statue 66 cm high, Thérèse is a nice woman, naked except for a loincloth. With her oversized head increasing her expressive feature, she is a transposition of primitive art to a Western subject. Although the intention of the artist was purely local, appealing beside him the laughers of Atuona, this artwork anticipates the interpretation of African and Oceanian figures by the artists of the twentieth century.
Thérèse is estimated $ 18M for sale by Christie's in New York on November 9, lot 5A. Its pendant Père Paillard is kept at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.
1902 The Great Questioning of Paul Gauguin
2015 SOLD for $ 5.9M including premium
His life became a series of social woes. This uncompromising Christian rejects the Catholic teaching and liturgy but desires to interpret the mystery of life. At the time of the Christ Jaune, 1889, he surrounds the religious symbols with themes from modern life including his own self portrait.
His voluntary exile in Polynesia brings him a synthesis of Christianity and animism. From then Gauguin's art is no more exclusively Christian. Painted in Tahiti in 1897-1898, D'où venons-nous Qui sommes-nous Où allons-nous, which is conceived by the artist as his ultimate masterpiece, does not refer to Western religions.
On May 5 in New York, Sotheby's sells a Nativité, oil on canvas 44 x 62 cm painted in 1902, lot 33 estimated $ 4M.
A Polynesian mother has just given birth to a child in a narrow room looking like a stable. She is assisted by a group of women. The youngest women are naked or almost naked.
But this scene is not only exotic. The radiant halo around the child's head leaves no doubt that this nativity is divine and the praying attitude of the three old women behind the group is Christian.