Vessel with Women and Goats, Paul Gauguin (French, Paris 1848–1903 Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands), Stoneware, French, Paris

Vessel with Women and Goats

Paul Gauguin (French, Paris 1848–1903 Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands)
ca. 1887–89
French, Paris
Overall (confirmed, irregular diameter): 7 7/8 × 4 5/8 × 4 3/8 in., 2.2 lb. (20 × 11.7 × 11.1 cm, 1 kg)
Credit Line:
Robert A. Ellison Jr. Collection, Purchase, Acquisitions Fund; Louis V. Bell, Harris Brisbane Dick, Fletcher, and Rogers Funds and Joseph Pulitzer Bequest; and 2011 Benefit Fund, 2013
Accession Number:
Not on view
Gauguin made about one hundred ceramic vessels (about sixty survive) in which he explored the expressive qualities of the medium. He began making pottery in 1886 after meeting Ernest Chaplet, with whom he collaborated on his earliest pieces. Gauguin soon developed his own technique, sculpting the clay by hand without the use of a potter's wheel. Unconventional shapes and a tough "primitive" appearance characterize his brown stoneware. The sloped, asymmetrical profile of this vase is representative of his approach. Gauguin could have developed the imagery of the woman and a goat during his sojourns in Brittany and Martinique.
Signature: In black on outside near foot: P. Go
Ambroise Vollard , Paris (until 1984; sale, Hôtel Drouot, June 21, 1984, lot 10; to Ellison); Robert A. Ellison Jr. , New York (until 2013; to MMA)