Paul Gauguin (French, Paris 1848–1903 Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands)
woodcut printed in color on wove paper, lined in silk
13 3/4 x 8 in. (34.9 x 20.3 cm) block 18 3/4 x 10 11/16 in. (47.6 x 27.2 cm) paper
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1936
Not on view
Gauguin spent much of his time in Paris in 1893–94 working on the text and illustrations for Noa Noa (Fragrance). The project began as a narrative to guide an uncomprehending public through Gauguin's personal and artistic perceptions of Tahiti, but ultimately became more complex and mysterious than anything he had produced in the South Seas. The remarkable series of ten woodblock prints that Gauguin designed as illustrations bear little relationship to his romanticized autobiographical text. Nor do they seem to follow any particular sequence. However, the imagery and themes of the prints—love and fear, creation and death, day and night—relate closely to those of Gauguin's Tahitian paintings. The Noa Noa woodcuts were seen for the first time by a coterie of friends and admirers—including Degas and the critics Julien Leclerq and Charles Morice—at Gauguin's studio exhibition in December 1894. Leclerq and Morice responded enthusiastically. They recognized the crudely carved woodcuts as a "revolution in the art of printmaking," and appreciated them as a "bridge" between the seemingly disparate qualities of Gauguin's paintings and sculpture.
Nave Nave Fenua
Vendor: Frederick Keppel & Co.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Prints by Paul Gauguin," February 23, 1971–April 18, 1971.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "The Art of Paul Gauguin," May 1, 1988–July 31, 1988.
Art Institute of Chicago. "The Art of Paul Gauguin," September 17, 1988–December 11, 1988.
Réunion des Musées Nationaux - Grand Palais. "The Art of Paul Gauguin," January 10, 1989–April 20, 1989.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," December 4, 1992–April 5, 2013.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Lure of the Exotic: Gauguin in New York Collections," June 18, 2002–October 20, 2002.
Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Gauguin: Metamorphoses," March 8, 2014–June 8, 2014.
Mongan/Kornfeld 14.IV.B; Guérin 29.III
Colta Ives "French Prints in the Era of Impressionism and Symbolism." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1988 (Summer), p. 31, ill.
Elizabeth Mongan, Eberhardt W. Kornfeld, Harold Joachim Paul Gauguin: Catalogue Raisonné of His Prints. Bern, Switzerland, 1988.
Richard Brettell, Françoise Cachin, Claire Frèches-Thory, Charles F. Stuckey, Peter Zegers, Isabelle Cahn, Gloria Groom, Marla Prather The Art of Paul Gauguin. Ex. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington, May 1-July 31, 1988; Art Institute of Chicago, Sept. 17-Dec. 11, 1988; Grand Palais, Paris, Jan. 10-Apr. 20, 1989. Washington, D.C., 1988, cat. no. 172h, p. 336, ill.
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. 82, pp. 107, 223, ill.
Artist: Paul Gauguin (French, Paris 1848–1903 Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands) Date: 1894Medium: Two inside covers decorated in watercolor and gouache over charcoal with graphite on heavy gray wove (blotting) paper sewn to leather; leather binding inscribed in pen and ink with additions in watercolor; multicolored silk ribbons stitched into binding.Accession: 2000.255On view in:Not on view