From early in his career Gauguin was attracted to the relatively remote and unspoiled terrain of Brittany in northwestern France. Breton culture, infused with vestiges of its pagan Celtic past, appealed to his taste for the primitive and the exotic. The artist is thought to have made this work during his fifth and final visit to the region in 1894, between voyages to the tropics. The brushwork recalls Gauguin's earlier Impressionist pictures, while the palette evokes his Tahitian paintings.
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Title:A Farm in Brittany
Artist:Paul Gauguin (French, Paris 1848–1903 Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands)
Medium:Oil on canvas
Dimensions:28 1/2 x 35 5/8 in. (72.4 x 90.5 cm)
Credit Line:Bequest of Margaret Seligman Lewisohn, in memory of her husband, Sam A. Lewisohn, 1954
Inscription: Signed (lower left): P.Gauguin
Eduard Simon-Wolfskehl, Frankfurt (by 1912–19, consigned to Thannhauser from 1917); [Moderne Galerie Heinrich Thannhauser, Munich, 1919–20; stock book I, no. 395 5033; purchased on December 9, 1919; sold on September 15, 1920, to Stransky]; Josef Stransky, New York (from 1920); [French & Co., New York]; Adolph Lewisohn, New York (by 1926–d. 1938; cat., 1928, pp. 158–59, ill.); his son, Samuel A. Lewisohn, New York (1938–d. 1951); his widow, Margaret Seligman Lewisohn, New York (1951–d. 1954)
Frankfurter Kunstverein. "Die klassische Malerei Frankreichs im 19. Jahrhundert: ein Überblick über die Entwicklung der modernen französischen Malerei in ausgewählten Werken der führenden Meister," July 18–October 20, 1912, no. 53 (as "Die roten Dächer," lent by Herr Ed. Simon-Wolfskehl, Frankfurt a. M.").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Loan Exhibition of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings," May 3–September 15, 1921, no. 49 (as "Brittany Landscape," lent by Josef Stransky).
New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Modern Works of Art," November 20, 1934–January 20, 1935, no. 11 (as "Landscape," lent by the Adolph Lewisohn collection).
San Francisco Museum of Art. "Paul Gauguin," September 5–October 4, 1936, no. 2 (as "Landscape").
New York. Wildenstein & Co., Inc. "A Loan Exhibition of Paul Gauguin," April 3–May 4, 1946, no. 9 (as "Landscape, Brittany," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Samuel A. Lewisohn).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Lewisohn Collection," November 2–December 2, 1951, no. 33 (as "Farm in Brittany").
Art Institute of Chicago. "Gauguin: Paintings, Drawings, Prints, Sculpture," February 12–March 29, 1959, no. 59 (as "Farm in Brittany").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Gauguin: Paintings, Drawings, Prints, Sculpture," April 23–May 31, 1959, no. 59.
Little Rock. Arkansas Arts Center. "Five Centuries of European Painting," May 16–October 26, 1963, unnumbered cat. (p. 48).
Nashville. Fisk University. "100 Years of European Painting," April 28–June 10, 1965, unnum. checklist.
London. Tate Gallery. "Gauguin and the Pont-Aven Group," January 7–February 13, 1966, no. 40.
National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. "Gauguin," August 23–September 30, 1969, no. 26 (as "Ferme en Bretagne").
National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto. "Gauguin," October 5–November 7, 1969, no. 26.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Prints by Paul Gauguin," February 23–April 18, 1971, no. 53.
Amsterdam. Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh. "Franse meesters uit het Metropolitan Museum of Art: Realisten en Impressionisten," March 15–May 31, 1987, no. 30.
Fort Lauderdale. Museum of Art. "Corot to Cézanne: 19th Century French Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," December 22, 1992–April 11, 1993, no catalogue.
Graz. Landesmuseum Joanneum. "Paul Gauguin, von der Bretagne nach Tahiti: Ein Aufbruch zur Moderne," June 10–October 1, 2000, no. 32.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Lure of the Exotic: Gauguin in New York Collections," June 18–October 20, 2002, no. 18.
Paris. Musée du Luxembourg. "L'aventure de Pont-Aven et Gauguin," April 2–June 22, 2003, no. 117 (as "Ferme en Bretagne").
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Quimper. "L'aventure de Pont-Aven et Gauguin," July 12–September 30, 2003, no. 117.
Naples. Castel Sant'Elmo. "Gauguin e la Bretagna," October 19, 2003–January 11, 2004, no. 77.
Martigny. Fondation Pierre Gianadda. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Chefs-d'œuvre de la peinture européenne," June 23–November 12, 2006, no. 48.
Barcelona. Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya. "Grandes maestros de la pintura europea de The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nueva York: De El Greco a Cézanne," December 1, 2006–March 4, 2007, no. 40.
Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "Französische Meisterwerke des 19. Jahrhunderts aus dem Metropolitan Museum of Art," June 1–October 7, 2007, unnumbered cat.
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. "Van Gogh and Gauguin: Reality and Imagination," October 8–December 18, 2016, no. 64.
Nagoya. Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art. "Van Gogh and Gauguin: Reality and Imagination," January 3–March 20, 2017, no. 64.
Ordrupgaard, Copenhagen. "Gauguin and His Friends," January 26–May 1, 2022, no. 73.
Fritz Burger. Cézanne und Hodler: Einführung in die Probleme der Malerei der Gegenwart. Munich, 1913, vol. 1, pp. 95–96, vol. 2, pl. 83, calls it "Landschaft".
Moderne Galerie Heinrich Thannhauser. Nachtragswerk II mit 105 Abbildungen zur Grossen Katalogausgabe 1916. Munich, July 1917, pl. 17, as "Landschaft".
Loan Exhibition of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1921, p. 12, states that our painting was done in 1892 upon Gauguin's return from his first trip to Tahiti.
Forbes Watson. "American Collections No. III: The Adolph Lewisohn Collection." The Arts 10 (July 1926), ill. p. 33, includes it among artworks in the Lewisohn collection as "Landscape".
Stephan Bourgeois. The Adolph Lewisohn Collection of Modern French Paintings and Sculptures. New York, 1928, pp. 157–59, ill., calls it "Landscape" and notes that it is signed.
Alfred H. Barr Jr., ed. Modern Works of Art. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1934, pp. 12, 23, no. 11, pl. 11, calls it both "Farm" and "Landscape" and dates it about 1889.
Paul Gauguin: Exhibition of Paintings and Prints. Exh. cat., San Francisco Museum of Art. San Francisco, 1936, p. 15, no. 2, fig. 2, calls it "Landscape" and suggests that it was painted in France about 1886.
Sam A. Lewisohn. Painters and Personality: A Collector's View of Modern Art. [New York], 1937, p. xii, 60, 62, ill., calls it "Brittany Landscape," in the Lewisohn collection.
A Loan Exhibition of Paul Gauguin. Exh. cat., Wildenstein & Co., Inc. New York, 1946, p. 63, no. 9, calls it "Landscape, Brittany" and dates it about 1889.
Henri Perruchot. Gauguin: Sa vie ardente et misérable. Paris, 1948, ill. opp. p. 80, calls it "Paysage de Bretagne (1894)" and erroneously states that it is in the Hugo Perls collection.
Sam A. Lewisohn. Painters and Personality: A Collector's View of Modern Art. rev. ed. [1st ed., 1937]. New York, , pp. 60, 62, ill.
Claus Virch and Samuel J. Wagstaff Jr. inGauguin: Paintings, Drawings, Prints, Sculpture. Exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 1959, p. 56, no. 59, suggest that 1894 seems a better date than 1889.
Georges Wildenstein. Gauguin. Vol. 1, French ed. [English ed. 1965]. Paris, 1964, pp. 215–16, no. 526, ill., calls it "Farm in Brittany I" and dates it 1894 based on comparison with two paintings signed and dated 1894, "Breton Girl Praying" (W518; Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Blaustein, Baltimore) and "Farm in Brittany II" (W527; private collection).
Ronald Pickvance. Letter to Claire Weaver. March 17, 1966, notes that he found the name "Ed. Simon-Wolfskehl" on a photocopy of this painting in the Witt Library, but that he knows nothing further about him.
Ronald Pickvance. Gauguin and the Pont-Aven Group. Exh. cat., Tate Gallery. London, 1966, p. 26, no. 40, states that the other painting of this subject ("Farm in Brittany II"; W527, private collection) shows part of the same motif, and that both "bear the stamp of Gauguin's experience in Tahiti".
Douglas Cooper. Letter to Charles Moffett. April 2, 1980, judging from a transparency, observes that this painting is perfectly authentic, noting that its style is consistent with "Le Moulin David," "Paysan et son Chien," and "Vue de Pont-Aven" (formerly Clifford Michel, New York); states that the painting is definitely of Pont Aven and suggests that it shows the area near Gauguin's studio of 1888–89 with the village to the left; adds that the signature is unquestionably that of Gauguin; mentions that W528 (E. V. Thaw collection) is a fake derived from this picture.
Sjraar van Heutgen et al. inFranse meesters uit het Metropolitan Museum of Art: Realisten en Impressionisten. Exh. cat., Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, Amsterdam. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 1987, pp. 86–87, no. 30, ill. (color).
Pierre Daix. Paul Gauguin. [Paris], 1989, p. 265.
Roger Hurlburt. "Free Spirits." Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale) (December 20, 1992), p. 4D, ill. p. 1D.
Helen Kohen. "Lasting Impressions." Miami Herald (December 20, 1992), p. 6I, ill. p. 1I.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 491, ill.
Denise Delouche inPaul Gauguin, von der Bretagne nach Tahiti: Ein Aufbruch zur Moderne. Exh. cat., Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz. Tulln, 2000, pp. 212–13, no. 32, ill. (color).
Rebecca A. Rabinow. "Modern Art Comes to the Metropolitan: The 1921 Exhibition of 'Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings'." Apollo 152 (October 2000), p. 10.
Colta Ives in Colta Ives and Susan Alyson Stein. The Lure of the Exotic: Gauguin in New York Collections. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2002, p. 219, no. 18, ill. p. 35 (color), dates it probably 1894.
Susan Alyson Stein in Colta Ives and Susan Alyson Stein. The Lure of the Exotic: Gauguin in New York Collections. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2002, pp. 166–68, 230, fig. 64 (installation photo).
André Cariou inL'Aventure de Pont-Aven et Gauguin. Ed. André Cariou. Exh. cat., Musée du Luxembourg, Paris. Milan, 2003, pp. 306–7, 314–15, no. 117, ill. (color, overall and detail) [Italian ed., pp. 214–15, 220–21, no. 77, ill. (color, overall and detail)], dates it 1894, based on the work of the same title, depicting the same subject, dated 1894 (W527; sold Christie's, New York, 1880, no. 16); calls it "Ferme en Bretagne" and states that the location is within Pont-Aven but has never been precisely identified; compares it with other paintings with similar motifs.
Kathryn Calley Galitz inThe Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Chefs-d'œuvre de la peinture européenne. Exh. cat., Fondation Pierre Gianadda. Martigny, 2006, pp. 246–48, no. 48, ill. (color) [Catalan ed., Barcelona, 2006, pp. 134–35, no. 40, ill. (color)].
Katharine Baetjer inThe Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Chefs-d'œuvre de la peinture européenne. Exh. cat., Fondation Pierre Gianadda. Martigny, 2006, p. 22 [Catalan ed., Barcelona, 2006, p. 19].
Impressionist & Modern Art: Evening Sale. Sotheby's, London. February 5, 2007, p. 129, under no. 60, fig. 3 (color).
Kathryn Calley Galitz inMasterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 163, 251, no. 152, ill. (color and black and white).
Stefan Koldehoff inThe Thannhauser Gallery: Marketing Van Gogh. Ed. Stefan Koldehoff and Chris Stolwijk. Brussels, 2017, p. 138, states that Simon-Wolfskehl consigned the picture to Thannhauser in 1917.
Martin Gammon. Deaccessioning and Its Discontents: A Critical History. Cambridge, Mass., 2018, pp. 208, 401 nn. 17, 18.
This picture was probably painted in the summer of 1894, between Gauguin's two Tahitian periods, when he worked in Brittany. The site has been positively identified as Pont-Aven, tentatively the area near his studio of 1888–89, with the village to the left. A painting that uses part of the same motif (W527; formerly E. V. Thaw collection) has been called a fake by Douglas Cooper (1980).
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Paul Gauguin (French, Paris 1848–1903 Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands)
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