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.