Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)
These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE ENGLISH COLLECTION 
Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)

La maison blanche

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)
La maison blanche
signed and dated 'P Gauguin 85' (lower left)
oil on canvas
29.3/8 x 23.5/8 in. (74.6 x 60 cm.)
Painted in 1885
Private collection, France.
Richard Semmel, Berlin.
Alex. Reid & Lefevre, London
The 2nd Lord Hollenden, Leigh, Kent, by whom acquired from the above on 4th April 1935.
Alex. Reid & Lefevre, London, by whom acquired from the above.
The 9th Earl of Jersey, Jersey, by whom acquired from the above on 25th May 1943 and thence by descent to the present owners; offered following a settlement agreement with the heirs of Richard Semmel.
Probably O. Maus, ‘Les Vingtistes parisiens’, in L’Art moderne, 27 June 1886, p. 204 (titled 'Le Château').
‘Berliner Kunstausstellung’, in Kunst und Künstler, vol. XXVII, 1928 (illustrated p. 72).
A. Alexandre, Gauguin, Sa vie et le sens de son oeuvre, Paris, 1930 (illustrated p. 17; titled 'Saint-Cloud ou Chaville').
M. Malingue, Gauguin, Le peintre et son oeuvre, London, 1948 (illustrated pl. 102; titled 'La Maison').
G. Wildenstein, Gauguin, Paris, 1964, no. 165 (illustrated p. 62; titled 'Saint-Cloud ou Chaville').
L. van Dowski, Paul Gauguin oder Die Flucht vor der Zivilisation, Zurich, 1950, no. 64, p. 340.
R. Berson, The New Painting, Impressionism 1874-1886, vol. II, San Francisco, 1996, no. VIII-49, p. 243.
D. Wildenstein, Gauguin, Premier itinéraire d’un sauvage – Catalogue de l’oeuvre peint, vol. 1, 1873-1888, Paris, 2001, no. 183 (illustrated p. 220).
Probably Paris, 1 rue Lafitte, 8e exposition de peinture impressionniste, 1886, no. 49 (titled 'Le Château de l’Anglaise').
Berlin, Galerie Thannhauser, Gauguin, 1928, no. 12 (titled 'Haus in Bäumen').
Special notice
These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

Brought to you by

Adrienne Everwijn-Dumas
Adrienne Everwijn-Dumas

Lot Essay

La maison blanche was painted during Paul Gauguin's stay in Dieppe during the Summer of 1885, at a pivotal moment in his life and his career. This was an incredibly productive period, a final flush of Impressionism, coming only the year before his first stay in Brittany, which would soon see him take a very different path and move towards his Synthetist aesthetic. In this light, it is only too appropriate that La maison blanche may have appeared, under the title Le château de l'Anglaise, in the eighth and final Impressionist exhibition - the first in which Gauguin had shown his work. It seems all the more likely that this picture was shown then if, as Richard Brettell suggested, the other contender for that title, which appears to show the same building in the background, was in fact exhibited as Près de la ferme; that work was formerly in the Portland Art Museum (see R. Brettell & A.B. Fonsmark, Gauguin and Impressionism, exh. cat., Fort Worth & Copenhagen, 2005, p. 264; also D. Wildenstein, Gauguin, Prémier itinéraire d'un sauvage, Catalogue de l'oeuvre peint, vol. I, 1873-1888, Paris, 2001, p. 221).

Gauguin went to Dieppe shortly after his return to France after the debacle of his stay in Copenhagen, where he had gone with his Danish wife Mette and their family. While in Copenhagen, tensions between the artist and his wife, her family and their acquaintances had come to a head, marking the beginning of a permanent rift between them. Gauguin had little money and took recourse to selling pictures, both his own and those of the artists he so admired which he had collected over the years during his time as a patron of Impressionism. Looking at La maison blanche, the importance of the works in his collection appears clear in the relationship between this composition and those of Paul Cézanne, several of whose works he owned. This is especially the case in the broken screen of trees through which the white house of the title, apparently typical of the locality, appears.

In September 1885, Gauguin wrote to his great mentor Camille Pissarro: 'I'm just back from Dieppe where I spent three months with a friend who put me up. Of course I did a lot of work but there were lots of obstacles given that it's a long way from the countryside which means motifs were rather lacking' (see ibid., p. 213). It is unknown why Gauguin made such a mystery of his movements in Dieppe during his campaign there, which lasted from June or July through to September. In the catalogue raisonné of his work, it has been suggested that the Englishwoman after whom one of his pictures, probably this one, was named may have played some role in his life or accommodation. He may have obfuscated the details of his hosts because they played some part in the conflict between him and his wife, or between other members of Mette's family (see ibid., p. 213). Nonetheless, during his time in Dieppe, Gauguin painted with incredible variety and enthusiasm, including a number of daring vertical landscapes such as La maison blanche, and exhibited several of these works at his first showing alongside the Impressionists, marking his own approval of them.

More from Impressionist/Modern Evening Sale

View All
View All