Old Women of Arles, from the Volpini Suite: Dessins lithographiques
Paul Gauguin (French, Paris 1848–1903 Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands)
Zincograph on chrome yellow wove paper; first edition
7 1/2 x 8 1/4 in. (19.1 x 21.0 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1922
Not on view
On the fairgrounds of the Paris World's Fair of 1889, at Volpini's Café des Arts, Gauguin exhibited a brand new suite of ten zincographs printed on bright yellow paper. Known as the "Volpini Suite," the prints served as a pictorial souvenir of Gauguin's recent travels in Brittany, Martinique, and Arles.
This print depicts four elderly women walking on a wintry garden path. The bare landscape is punctuated by a large round shrub, a graceful willow, and two tall wrapped trees. The pair in the foreground, one of whom resembles Mme Ginoux, the owner of a famous café in Arles, shield themselves against the cold winds of the mistral with their cloaks. Gauguin found great satisfaction in the appearance of the women he encountered while in the south of France, and rhapsodized about them in a letter: "The women here, with their elegant coiffure, their Grecian beauty, their shawls falling in folds like the primitives, are, I say, like Greek processions." The brightly colored paper Gauguin used in the Volpini Suite is reminiscent of Van Gogh's Yellow House in Arles, where Gauguin had a disastrous stay as Van Gogh's guest in 1888.
Signature: Signed in plate, lower left: P. Gauguin
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Gauguin: Paintings, Drawings, Prints, Sculpture, Chicago and New York, 1959," April 23, 1959–May 31, 1959.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Prints by Paul Gauguin," February 23, 1971–April 18, 1971.
Musée d'Orsay. "Theo van Gogh, 1857-1891: Art Dealer, Collector, and Brother of Vincent," September 27, 1999–January 9, 2000.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Lure of the Exotic: Gauguin in New York Collections," June 18, 2002–October 20, 2002.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," October 4, 2005–January 9, 2006.
Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao. "Francisco Durrio," June 3, 2013–September 15, 2013.
Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Gauguin: Metamorphoses," March 8, 2014–June 8, 2014.
Guérin 11; Mongan/Kornfeld 9.A.b
Elizabeth Mongan, Eberhardt W. Kornfeld, Harold Joachim Paul Gauguin: Catalogue Raisonné of His Prints. Bern, Switzerland, 1988.
Colta Ives, Susan Alyson Stein, Charlotte Hale, Marjorie Shelley The Lure of the Exotic: Gauguin in New York Collections. Ex. cat. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yale University Press, New York, 2002, cat. no. 39, p. 63, ill.