Walking stick with a female nude and a Breton sabot on the handle

Artist: Paul Gauguin (French, Paris 1848–1903 Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands)

Date: ca. 1888–90

Culture: French

Medium: Boxwood, mother-of-pearl [Pinctada margaritifera (black-lip pearl oyster)], glass, and iron

Dimensions: Overall (confirmed): 36 1/2 × 2 1/16 × 1 11/16 in. (92.7 × 5.2 × 4.3 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Bequest of Adelaide Milton de Groot (1876-1967), 1967

Accession Number: 67.187.45a, b


Gauguin made five trips to Brittany between 1886 and 1894. He liked the region's "savage, primitive" quality. His perception is embodied in the carving of this walking stick, with its snake-entwined shaft and handle in the form of a female nude supporting a Breton wooden shoe. The sole of the shoe slides open to reveal a hidden compartment.