Paul Sérusier (1863-1927)
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Paul Sérusier (1863-1927)

Le ramassage des pommes

Paul Sérusier (1863-1927)
Le ramassage des pommes
signed and dated 'P Sér - 95' (lower left)
oil on canvas
28 x 35 5/8 in. (71 x 90.5 cm.)
Painted in 1895
Private collection, France.
Acquired from the above by the family of the present owner on 9 December 1981.
M. Guicheteau, Paul Sérusier, Paris, 1976, no. 111 (illustrated p. 220).
C. Boyle-Turner, Paul Sérusier, Lausanne, 1988, p. 117 (illustrated).
C. Boyle-Turner, Sérusier et la Bretagne, Douarnenez, 1995, p. 94 (illustrated).
H. Ronné, Les cidres et leurs eaux-de-vie, Rouen, 2000, p. 19 (illustrated).
B. Frélaut, La Merveilleuse Bretagne des Peintres, Geneva, 2005, pp. 108-9 (illustrated).
Pont-Aven, Musée de Pont-Aven, Paul Sérusier et la Bretagne, June - September 1991, no. 40, pp. 64-5 (illustrated).
Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Gauguin and the Pont-Aven School, May - July 1994, no. 123, p. 195 (illustrated).
Indianapolis, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Gauguin and the School of Pont-Aven, September - October 1994, no. 123, p. 154 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Baltimore, The Walters Art Gallery, Montreal, Museum of Fine Art, Memphis, The Dixon Gallery and Gardens, San Diego, Museum of Art, Portland, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Jerusalem, The Israel Museum and Künzelsau, Museum Würth.
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Lot Essay

In September 1888, Sérusier met Paul Gauguin at Pont-Aven and under his influence began to experiment with a new style of painting in which simple forms and flat colours were chosen for emotional rather than descriptive reasons. Gauguin encouraged Sérusier to paint with pure colour and to exaggerate his impressions in order to achieve pictorial coherence in his work. These early experiments of 1888 resulted in Sérusier taking back to Paris a small panel entitled Le Talisman (Guicheteau 2, Musée d'Orsay, Paris) which provoked much discussion when he unveiled it to his fellow students at the Académie Julian. In explaining this work, Sérusier 'conveyed to his friends Gauguin's "message" that instead of copying nature as one perceived it, one should represent it, transmute it into a play of vivid colors, emphasizing simple, expressive, original arabesques for the pleasure of the eye' (J. Rewald, Post-Impressionism from Van Gogh to Gauguin, New York, 1956, p. 275). Those young artists who applauded Sérusier's synthetisme or cloisonnisme as they alternately called it--Bonnard, Vuillard, Denis, Vallotton and Ranson--began to form a separate group who called themselves after the Hebrew word for prophet, Nabis.

Sérusier returned to Brittany for the next few summers, working alongside Gauguin, Bernard and Meyer de Haan and becoming a pivotal member of the school of Pont-Aven. Pont-Aven and nearby Le Pouldu represented for these artists a dramatic visual contrast to Paris. The Breton culture and way of life was quite distinctive in its unspoilt, timeless tranquillity and Sérusier and his colleagues delighted in the beauty and simplicity of life in the region, often depicting the daily activities of the peasants in their compositions. Le ramassage des pommes perfectly displays Sérusier's preoccupation with this rich source of visual material, while the abstraction of his landscape, with its flat composition and sense of undulating movement throughout the composition, bears witness to the ongoing influence of Paul Gauguin.

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