PAUL GAUGUIN (1848-1903)
PAUL GAUGUIN (1848-1903)
PAUL GAUGUIN (1848-1903)
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PAUL GAUGUIN (1848-1903)
4 More
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK … Read more PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT AMERICAN COLLECTION
PAUL GAUGUIN (1848-1903)

La Montagne Sainte-Marguerite vue des environs du presbytère

PAUL GAUGUIN (1848-1903)
La Montagne Sainte-Marguerite vue des environs du presbytère
signed and dated 'P Gauguin 86' (lower left)
oil on canvas
23 5/8 x 28 7/8 in. (60.2 x 73.5 cm.)
Painted in Pont-Aven in 1886
(Probably) Galerie Boussod, Valadon et Cie., Paris, by whom acquired directly from the artist in November 1888.
(Probably) M. Dupuis, Paris, by whom acquired from the above on 13 November 1888, until December 1890.
(Probably) Galerie E. Druet, Paris, no. 5110.
Hugo Perls, Berlin, 1926.
Graphisches Kabinett [Peter Voigt], Bremen, 1926.
E.H. Baron (née Pappier), Amsterdam, by whom acquired from the above in 1926.
Walter Feilchenfeldt, Zurich, by whom acquired from the above in 1959.
Acquired from the above by the family of the present owner in August 1960.
(Probably) R. Huyghe, Le Carnet de Paul Gauguin, c. 1888-1890, Paris, p. 225 ("[sold to] Dupuis Vue de Pont-Aven 350 [F]").
G. Wildenstein, Gauguin, vol. I, Paris, 1964, no. 195, p. 72 (illustrated; titled 'La Montagne Sainte-Marguerite à Pont-Aven').
(Probably) J. Rewald, Studies in Post-Impressionism, Paris, 1986, Appendix I, 'Excerpts from the Goupil-Boussod & Valadon Ledgers', listed as 'Vue de Pont-Aven [W.195?]'.
G.M. Sugana, L'opera completa di Gauguin, Milan, 1972, no. 44, p. 89 (illustrated).
(Probably) J. Rewald, Theo Van Gogh, Goupil and the Impressionists, Paris, 1973, pp. 33, 74-75.
D. Wildenstein, Gauguin, Premier itinéraire d'un sauvage, Catalogue de l'oeuvre peint (1873-1888), vol. I, Paris, 2001, no. 227, pp. 283-284 (illustrated p. 283).
M. van Dijk & J. van der Hoeven, Gauguin and Laval in Martinique, Amsterdam, 2019, pp. 80 & 82 (illustrated fig. 49, p. 83).
(Probably) Paris, Galerie Boussod, Valadon et Cie., Paul Gauguin, November 1888.
Rotterdam, Museum Boymans, Kunstschatten uit Nederlandse Verzamelingen, June - September 1955, no. 186, p. 80 (illustrated pl. 198).
Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Cent Oeuvres de Gauguin, 1960, no. 23 (illustrated).
Munich, Haus der Kunst, Paul Gauguin, April - May 1960, no. 26, p. 7 (illustrated pl.19).
London, Tate Gallery, Gauguin and the Pont-Aven Group, January - February 1966, no. 3a, p. 19 (titled 'View of Pont-Aven'); this exhibition later travelled to Zurich, Kunsthaus, Gauguin und sein Kreis in der Bretagne, March - April 1966, no. 5, p. 50 (titled 'La Montagne Sainte-Marguerite à Pont-Aven').
Special notice
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Michelle McMullan
Michelle McMullan Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

La Montagne Sainte-Marguerite vue des environs du presbytère was painted in 1886, during Paul Gauguin’s first stay in Brittany. The canvas represents a crucial moment in the artist’s life and career during which he was shifting away from Impressionism towards Synthetism; it also records his first excursion to a region which would become an enduring source of inspiration.
Frustrated by the state of his finances and the lack of attention he had received at the eighth and final Impressionist exhibition, Gauguin had decided it was again time to leave Paris. The previous year he had gone to Copenhagen with his Danish wife Mette, but whilst there, tensions between the artist and his wife had come to a head, marking the beginning of a permanent rift between the couple. Returning to France, Gauguin had very little money, and so began to sell both his own paintings and those by the artists he greatly admired, which he had begun to collect during his years associated with the Impressionists. Looking at La Montagne Sainte-Marguerite vue des environs du presbytère, the influence of such artists remains strong, particularly that of Camille Pissarro, as seen in the fine hatched lines and build-up of luminous colour.
Desperate to find inexpensive accommodation so that he could focus on his art, Gauguin decamped to Pont-Aven in Brittany in July of 1886. For more than five decades, artists had sought out the region’s dramatic and rugged landforms, craggy coastline, and traditional costumes of the Breton people as part of the wider reconceptualization that landscape painting was undergoing in France. Once considered lesser according to the Academy’s hierarchy of genres, the landscape had finally cemented its significance at the Universal Exposition of 1855. If previously, such imagery had served as backdrop to mythological or Biblical scenes, now new generations of artists were taking up the practice of painting en plein air with the aim of representing the trees and fields they saw through their windows. As such, landscape painting was becoming, argues Richard Thomson, a new ‘vehicle for the artist’s imagination’ and thus a new site for innovation (R. Thomson, ‘Pictures of Progress, Nationalism and Tradition’, in Monet to Matisse: Landscape Painting in France 1874-1914, exh. cat., National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1994, pp. 14-15).
Despite writing to Félix Bracquemond that he was off ‘to paint in a hole’, Gauguin stayed for several months in Pont-Aven (P. Gauguin quoted in D. Sweetman, Paul Gauguin: A Life, New York, 1995, p.133). He lived at the pension belonging to Marie-Jeanne Gloanec, on the town’s main square, and worked alongside artists from Denmark, England, and the United States. Freed somewhat from his financial concerns, Gauguin was wonderfully productive, filling notebooks with preliminary drawings and creating his Impressionistic canvases. He found much that interested him in Pont-Aven so much so that rarely during this initial stay in Brittany did he plant his easel more than 300 yards from the doors of the pension. To paint La Montagne Sainte-Marguerite vue des environs du presbytère, Gauguin placed himself between the Bois d’amour and Mount Saint-Guénolé ‘on whose flank the Qimperlé road winds out of sight’ (‘227: Mount Sainte-Marguerite From Near The Presbytery’, D. Wildenstein, Gauguin: A Savage in the Making: Catalogue raisonné of the Paintings (1873-1888), vol. I, Paris, 2002, p. 283). He set up his easel on land belonging to the Lollichon family, whose cottages he painted in Le champ Lollichon during that same summer; in fact, it is they who funded the titular presbytery of the present lot.
France in the late 19th century was in the process of great change, and this period saw the industrialization of the country as well as a transportation revolution. For landscape painters, there was much to contend with both aesthetically and ideologically as the advent of new technologies permanently changed perceptions of the land. While some artists sought to incorporate the signs of modernity that had begun to encroach upon rural, and apparently traditional, ways of being, others, such as Gauguin, bemoaned the changes. Indeed, Brittany, to the artist came to represent a wildness that he felt was fast disappearing.
That the Bretons knew how to cater to the growing number of tourists was beside the point, and Gauguin relished what he perceived to be a slower, more ancestral pace. In a letter to his friend, the artist Émile Schuffenecker, Gauguin later wrote, ‘I love Brittany. I find wildness and primitiveness there. When my wooden shoes ring on this granite, I hear the muffled, dull, and powerful tone which I try to achieve in painting’ (P. Gauguin, letter to E. Schuffenecker, February 1888, cited in M. Dabrowski, French Landscape: The Modern Vision 1880-1920, exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1999, p. 62). He was drawn to what he believed to be a more traditional way of life, and indeed, the bucolic scene depicted in La Montagne Sainte-Marguerite vue des environs du presbytère, could be of any moment. Time has been arrested, and the sole hint of movement comes from a knot of trees that sways languidly in a warm breeze. Change, however, was inevitable, and the landscapes Gauguin saw during his months in Pont-Aven were the catalyst behind the his turn towards Synthetism, and the direction his oeuvre would henceforth take.

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