PAUL GAUGUIN (1848-1903)
PAUL GAUGUIN (1848-1903)
PAUL GAUGUIN (1848-1903)
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PAUL GAUGUIN (1848-1903)

Rouen, L'église Saint-Ouen

PAUL GAUGUIN (1848-1903)
Rouen, L'église Saint-Ouen
signed and dated 'PGauguin. 84' (lower right)
oil on canvas
36 1/8 x 28 5/8 in. (91.6 x 72.7 cm.)
Painted in 1884
(probably) Boussod & Valadon et Cie., Paris (consigned by the artist).
(probably) George-Daniel de Monfreid, Paris (acquired from the above, March 1893).
(possibly) Anon. sale, Kunst & Spiegel AG., Zurich, 26-28 October 1932, lot 689.
French Art Galleries, New York (by 1944 and until at least 1948).
Hugo Moser, New York.
Pedro Vallenilla Echeverría, Caracas (by May 1957).
Wildenstein & Co. Inc., Paris, London and New York (by April 1963).
Seibu Department Store, Shizuoka (acquired from the above, September 1971).
Private collection, Japan (acquired from the above, circa 1975); sale, Christie's, New York, 9 May 2013, lot 265.
Private collection, Monaco (acquired at the above sale).
Private collection, Japan.
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2019.
J. Rewald, ed., Camille Pissarro: Letters to His Son Lucien, New York, 1944, pp. 48-49, no. 8 (illustrated).
J. Rewald, The History of Impressionism, New York, 1946, p. 376 (illustrated).
J. Loize, De Maillol et Codet à Ségalen: Les amitiés du peintre Georges-Daniel de Monfreid et ses reliques de Gauguin, Paris, 1951, pp. 93-94, no. 138.
G. Diehl, El arte moderno francés en Caracas, Caracas, 1959, p. 19, no. 18 (illustrated).
S. Bottari and L. Laurenzi, "Arte antica e moderna," Notiziario, April-June 1963, no. 22, p. XVI (illustrated, fig. 40).
A. Bury, "In the Galleries, Lautrec and Gauguin," The Connoisseur, vol. 154, no. 622, December 1963, p. 258.
G. Wildenstein, L'art français: Gauguin, Paris, 1964, vol. I, pp. 41-42, no. 103 (illustrated, p. 41).
R. Cogniat and D. Wildenstein, Paul Gauguin, Milan, 1971, p. 24 (illustrated in color, fig. 1).
J. Rewald, The History of Impressionism, New York, 1973, p. 494 (illustrated).
L. Van Dowski, Die Wahrheit über Gauguin, Darmstadt, 1973, p. 252, no. 44a.
Y. le Pichon, Sur les traces de Gauguin, Paris, 1986, p. 34 (illustrated).
D. Wildenstein, Gauguin, Premier itinéraire d'un sauvage: Catalogue de l'oeuvre peint (1873-1888), Paris, 2001, vol. I, p. 144, no. 124 (illustrated).
(possibly) Paris, Catalogue de la 8ème exposition de peinture, May-June 1886, p. 9, no. 51 (titled Vue de Rouen).
Amsterdam, E.J. van Wisselingh & Co., Exposition de peinture française, March-April 1940, no. 14 (titled Paysage en Bretagne; illustrated).
Milwaukee Art Institute, Masters of Impressionism, October-November 1948, no. 13 (titled Landscape near Rouen).
Caracas, Fundación Eugenio Mendoza, Cien años de pintura moderna, 1840-1940, May 1957, p. 13, no. 19 (illustrated).
Caracas, Museo de Bellas Artes, 20 obras de la collección Pedro Vallenilla Echeverría, January-December 1959, p. 9, no. 7 (titled Paisaje de Normandía, cerca de Rouen).
London, Wildenstein & Co., The French Impressionists and Some of Their Contemporaries, April-May 1963, pp. 23-24, no. 64 (illustrated).
Corpus Christi, Art Museum of South Texas, Ideas for the Collector, February-March 1968.
The Baltimore Museum of Art, From El Greco to Pollock: Early and Late Works by European and American Artists, October-December 1968, pp. 86-87, no. 65 (illustrated, p. 86).
Cincinnati Art Museum, The Early Work of Paul Gauguin: Genesis of an Artist, March-April 1971, pp. 7 and 32, no. 6 (illustrated, p. 17).
Tokyo, Wildenstein & Co. Inc., Wildenstein Collection, September-December 1971 (illustrated in color).
Trento, Palazzo delle Albere, Renoir: Un quadro per un movimiento, November-December 1982, no. 1.
Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art and The Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, The New Painting: Impressionism, January-July 1986, p. 444, no. 50.
Further details
This work will be included in the forthcoming Paul Gauguin digital catalogue raisonné, currently being prepared under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, Inc.

Lot Essay

In late 1883, Gauguin left his job as a stockbroker in Paris and devoted himself entirely to his art. Together with his increasingly disillusioned wife, Mette, and their five young children, Gauguin moved to a rented house in the suburb of Beauvoisine, near Rouen. Despite his significant financial and marital woes, this period—between January and November 1884—was an enormously productive one for Gauguin. As he wrote to Camille Pissarro in July of that year, “I’m painting just for me now, without haste, and I can tell you that this time I’m doing seriously adventurous stuff” (quoted in D. Wildenstein, op. cit., p. 131). Gauguin happily spent his days wandering the surrounding region, painting the domestic and religious structures that dotted the landscape. During his time in Rouen, Gauguin continued to experiment with bold, rich pigments applied with loose, choppy brushstrokes—all evident in Rouen, L'église Saint-Ouen.
This view of the Church of Saint-Ouen was observed from a hillside near the rue de Bihorel, about a ten minute walk from Gauguin’s home in Beauvoisine. As Daniel Wildenstein has noted, however, Gauguin chose to remove a major monument from the skyline of Rouen: the enormous Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen, an iconic Gothic structure that would become the subject of a famous series of paintings by Claude Monet in 1892. In actuality, the enormous bell towers and spire of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame would be visible to the right of Saint-Ouen from this vantage point. Wildenstein suggests that Gauguin opted to edit out the larger cathedral in order to create a sense of balance within the composition. The Church of Saint-Ouen instead appears dwarfed by a majestic tree thick with emerald green leaves, emphasizing the dramatic scale of nature over manmade structures.
Back in Paris two years later, Gauguin submitted nineteen paintings to the eighth and final Impressionist exhibition of 1886—likely including Rouen, L'église Saint-Ouen, exhibited under the title Vue de Rouen. Though his work received mixed reviews from critics, Gauguin was pleased with the overall impact of the show, as well as the positive responses from his colleagues: “Our exhibition has placed the whole question of Impressionism again in the spotlight, this time in its favor. I was a big success with the artists” (quoted in D. Wildenstein, Gauguin: Premier itinéraire d'un sauvage, Catalogue de l'oeuvre peint (1873-1888), Paris, 2002, vol. II, p. 600). By this point, Gauguin had formed close relationships with the stalwarts of Impressionism, including Pissarro, as well as the nascent pointillists Georges Seurat and Paul Signac. Yet Gauguin would soon distinguish himself from his colleagues by developing his own distinctive style, forged in collaboration with Vincent van Gogh in Arles in 1888.
Though this painting was probably shown in the high-profile Impressionist exhibition of 1886, Gauguin initially struggled to find a buyer. Sometime before 1890, Gauguin deposited a group of paintings and ceramics with the gallery Boussod & Valadon et Cie., Paris—then directed by Van Gogh’s younger brother, Theo. Following Theo’s death in 1891, the gallery was taken over by Maurice Joyant. In March 1893, Joyant transferred the remaining works from Gauguin’s consignment to the Parisian art collector George-Daniel de Monfreid. This group included a painting simply referred to as “Landscape, Church,” which Wildenstein has identified as the present work. Rouen, L'église Saint-Ouen subsequently changed hands several times over the course of the twentieth century—at one point, belonging to Hugo Moser, a German art dealer who managed the sale of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s art collection, following the latter’s abdication as the King of Prussia and the Emperor of Germany in 1918. Around 1957, the work entered the collection of Pedro Vallenilla Echeverria, a Venezuelan banker who formed one of the most extensive collections of modern art in South America in the twentieth century.
In addition to its fascinating early provenance, Rouen, L'église Saint-Ouen has a substantial international exhibition history. This work has been shown in a wide range of monographic and thematic exhibitions in major museums across Europe, North and South America, as well as Japan. Notably, this work appeared in an exhibition at the Cincinnati Art Museum entitled The Early Work of Paul Gauguin: Genesis of an Artist (March-April 1971) and more recently in a traveling exhibition that originated at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen: Cathédrales, 1789-1914: Un mythe moderne (April 2014-January 2015).

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