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Paul Gauguin - French - 1839-1906
Transfer Lithograph
$2,700 unframed - Edition: c 200

Paul Gauguin was the only son of Clovis Gauguin, radical republican journalist. In 1849 his father’s political activities forced the family into exile to Peru, but Clovis Gauguin died en route. The rest of the family stayed in Lima four years.

At 17 he joined the French merchant navy, traveling the world for six years. After his mother’s death in 1867, Gauguin settled down with his guardian, Gustave Arosa, whose art collection shaped Gauguin's interest in the Arts. He started collecting Impressionist paintings, and became an amateur painter.

His transformation from a stockbroker to full time artist came after the financial crash of 1882. With the help of Camille Pissaro he became part of the Impressionist movement. His use of broken rhythmical brushwork, and his interest in texture and color, clearly relates to the work of the Impressionists.

In 1887, Gauguin decided to leave France for Panama where he worked as a laborer for the Panama Canal Company. He soon left Panama for Martinique, where he gained experience in his development as an artist. In February 1888 he returned to Brittany, where, through the support of Theo van Gogh, he acquired a new sense of confidence in his work.

His break with the Impressionist movement came when he started his painting ‘‘Vision after the Sermon’’, where he was more concerned with the inner meaning of the subjects painted. This painting also marked the start of a new style in
painting that became known as Symbolism.

Gauguin’’s stay with Van Gogh was a traumatic but also fruitful experience for both artists. The two artists learned a great deal from each other, but they were often at odds, culminating in Van Gogh cutting his own ear.

In 1889 Gauguin met Daniel de Montfried, who was to play a significant role in his career. Although a productive period for Gauguin, he was depressed and left Tahiti in 1891. His first stay in Tahiti resulted in vast artistic activity and a different style. He took every opportunity to study Tahitian old culture and tried to resurrect it in his paintings.

Guerin Suggests in his catalog that this lithograph may be copied after a drawing. However, if a study is made of the L’Epreuve prospectus, and of its description of each print, it becomes clear not only that a clear differentiation is made between ‘after’ prints and ‘original’ works and that the whole emphasis of the prints in the album was that they should be original.

Gauguin is also listed as amongst the artists contributing original prints to the album. This lithograph was issued by L’Epreuve in February, 1895. In the following month they also published the lithograph by Gauguin ‘Ja Orana Maria’ (Guerin 51) about which there is no discussion. It is much
more reasonable to suggest that both works were drawn either direct onto zinc, or onto transfer paper, at the same time early in 1895 before Gauguin left again for Tahiti. The treatment of the figures and the pattern of the forms is
certainly typical of Gauguin’s late style.

Provence: Collection of the artist Felicien Rops
William West Gallery, London, England
Collection of Ray Esposito

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