Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)
Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)

Deux vaches au pré

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)
Deux vaches au pré
signed 'P Gauguin' (lower left)
oil on canvas
15 7/8 x 10¾ in. (35.2 x 27.2 cm.)
Painted in 1884
Gallery Storran, London.
Sir Hugh Walpole, London (acquired from the above, 1924).
The Leicester Galleries, London (by 1945).
Viscount Hambleden, London; sale, Christie's, London, 27 June 1958, lot 39.
Arthur Tooth & Sons, Ltd., London (acquired at the above sale).
Mrs. Derek Fitzgerald; sale, Sotheby & Co., London, 12 June 1963, lot 73.
Robert Clark, London.
Samuel Josefowitz, Lausanne (circa 1985).
Anon. sale, Hôtel Georges Cinq, Paris, 14 December 1992, lot 37. Anon. sale, Sotheby's, London, 22 June 1993, lot 34.
Maspro Art Museum, Nisshin City (aquired at the above sale); sale, Christie's, New York, 5 May 2005, lot 211.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
R.H. Davis, Hugh Walpole, London, 1952, pp. 252 and 367.
G. Wildenstein, Gauguin, Paris, 1964, p. 42, no. 105 (illustrated).
D. Wildenstein, Gauguin, Premier itinéraire d'un sauvage. Catalogue de l'oeuvre peint (1873-1888), Paris, 2001, vol. I, p. 156, no. 139 (illustrated in color).
London, The Leicester Galleries, The Art Collection of the Late Sir Hugh Walpole, April-May 1945.
London, Arthur Tooth & Sons, Ltd., Recent Acquisitions, 1958, no. 10.
Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Musée du Prieuré, Le chemin de Gauguin, Genèse et Rayonnement, October-December 1985, p. 30, no. 33 (illustrated in color).

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Stefany Sekara Morris
Stefany Sekara Morris

Lot Essay

Gauguin began to take painting lessons from Camille Pissarro in 1874. At that time he was working as an insurance agent on the Paris stock exchange for Maison Bertin and enjoying a prosperous life with his wife Mette, the daughter of a Danish minister. During this period he collected Impressionist works by Edouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley, which he purchased from Durand-Ruel. Following the collapse of the stock market in January 1882, Gauguin's financial career began to take second place to his artistic ambitions; as he become more self-assured as an artist. With encouragement from Pissarro in particular, Gauguin was advised against working "according to rules and principles extraneous to your own temperament. You must paint what you yourself observe and feel... Before nature one must be daring and risk making mistakes." (quoted in E. Fezzi, Gauguin, Every Painting, New York, 1980, vol. I, p. 4).

Gauguin first exhibited with the Impressionist group at their fifth exhibition in 1880, and continued to exhibit with them in 1881, 1882 and 1886, their eighth and last exhibition. Discussing the pictures that Gauguin exhibited in 1886 the critic Gustave Geffroy wrote, "There are some still-lifes among the nineteen canvases Gauguin exhibits, but there are mainly landscapes. He has searched out willows, ponds, farmyards and roads... There is firmness in most of these studies and an understanding of the dominant effect." Another critic, Marcel Fouquier, wrote on 16 May 1886, "Gauguin, Guillaumin, Schuffenecker and Signac, newcomers to Impressionism, like all converts, are consumed with a fine ardour, a burning desire to go further than anyone and to make Pissarro stop, bemused, in front of their canvases. None of them lacks talent" (quoted in C.S. Moffett, The New Painting, Impressionism 1874-1886, exh. cat., Fine Arts Museums, San Francisco, 1986, pp. 456-457).

Painted in 1884 when Gauguin was living in Rouen and working at the peak of his Impressionist period, Deux vaches au pré is one of a series of portraits of farms and rural villages that Gauguin executed beginning in 1879. Like the Impressionists painters before him, Gauguin was attracted to pastoral and rural themes as an emblem of a pristine past, free from the complications and corruptions of modern civilized life.

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