Paul Gauguin (French, Paris 1848–1903 Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands)
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.
each drawing: 16-3/4 x 10-3/8 in. (42.5 x 26.4 cm)
Promised Gift of Leon D. and Debra R. Black, and Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer and Florence B. Selden Bequests, and 1999 Benefit Fund, 2000
Not on view
After returning to paint in the Breton village of Pont-Aven in summer 1894, Gauguin suddenly found his activity restricted by a fractured leg suffered in a brawl. Thus, instead of standing before an easel, he was forced to spend much of his time seated, creating works on paper, which he must have placed in this hand-made portfolio. He decorated the inside with motifs inspired by his picturesque surrounds and penned a mock-heroic dedication to the local innkeeper on the leather cover, perhaps marking the grand finale to a drunken evening spent with artist cronies whose names are included in the inscriptions. One of Gauguin's most appealing excursions into the decorative arts, this extraordinary work remained virtually unknown until its sale at a Paris auction in 2000.
Signature: Signed: Seguin / Roderic O'Conor / PGO Left inner cover is signed at lower left in brush and wash: PGO 94.
Inscription: The front leather cover is inscribed in pen and ink, as follows: Sur / CHAMP D'ART / E.F.R. [Eric Forbes-Robertson] / le 25 juin 1894, Nous artistes peintres orgueilleu/sement de haute race dans le grand livre mystérieux / de la nature né Paul Gauguin dit PGO né / Eric Forbs Robertson dit le Celte né Roderic / O'Conor, né Seguin le Jovial avons décidé / Dé ce jour ce livre en / terrain neutre de sympatie (sic) et d'art littéraire / pictural et musical, recueillera les pensées dessins / et signatures de tous ceux qui de bonne foi / s'associeront à notre oeuvre pour se retrouver / un jour à la divine source de toute harmonie / de conforme volonté avons déposé / ce livre entre les mains de Marie Jeanne / femme Gloanec, afin qu'il / soit préservé de tout outrage / En foi de quoi avons signé / PGO / Eric Forbes-Robertson/ Roderic O'Conor / Armand Seguin
On the FIELD OF ART, June 25, 1894 We painters proudly of noble race in the great mysterious book of nature, born Paul Gauguin, known as PGO; born Eric Forbes-Robertson, known as the Celt; born Roderic O'Conor; born Seguin, the Jovial, have decided [that] from this day forward this book [held] in territory neutral to the literary, pictorial, and musical arts, will collect the thoughts, drawings, and signatures of all those who in good faith associate themselves with our work in order to find themselves once again at the divine source of all harmony; accordingly we have (PGO) deposited this book, so that it may be preserved from any insult, in the hands of Marie (Jeanne) Madame Gloanec. In good faith, we have signed: PGO [Paul Gauguin], Eric Forbes-Robertson / Roderic O'Conor / Armand Seguin
Marking: Each drawing on right inner cover is stamped at lower left and lower right with the mark of the collector Maurice Gobin (Lugt 1124b).
Daniel de Monfried (1856–1929); Ricardo Vines (Spanish, 1875–1943)According to oral tradition, this drawing was acquired by Ricardo Vines; Maurice Gobin; Sale: Piasa, Paris, March 31, 2000, lot 158; Vendor: Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel, Munich Donor: Leon D. and Debra R. Black, New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Lure of the Exotic: Gauguin in New York Collections," June 18, 2002–October 20, 2002.
Tate Modern. "Paul Gauguin: Maker of Myth," September 30, 2010–January 16, 2011.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "Paul Gauguin: Maker of Myth," February 27, 2011–June 5, 2011.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paper Chase: Two Decades of Collecting Drawings and Prints," December 9, 2014–March 16, 2015.
Maurice Gobin L'Art Expressif aux Siècle Français: 120 Dessins, Aquarelles, Gouaches et Pastels Commentés et Illustrés. Ex. cat. Paris, 1960, cat. no. XVI, ill.
Piasa, Paris Dessins Anciens XIX. Sale cat. 2000, cat. no. 158, pp. 78-81, ill.
Carmen C. Bambach, Elizabeth E. Barker, Colta Ives, Michiel C. Plomp, Perrin Stein, Gary Tinterow "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2000-2001." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 59, no. 2, Autumn 2001, pp. 44-5, 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. 26, pp. 42-43,173, 207, 208, 217, 220, ill.
Charles F. Stuckey "Gauguin, New York." Burlington Magazine. vol. 144, no. 1194, September, 2002, 582.
Gauguin: Maker of Myth. Exh. cat., Tate Modern, London, September 30-January 16, 2011, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., February 27-June 5, 2011. Belinda Thomson, and Tamar Garb, Princeton, NJ, 2010, cat. no. 124, pp. 190, 242, ill.