The Comité Sérusier has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
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 colors were chosen for emotional rather than descriptive reasons. Gauguin encouraged Sérusier to paint with pure color 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 by Gauguin 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 Synthétisme or Cloisonnisme as they alternately called it--Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Maurice Denis, Paul Vallotton and Paul 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, Emile Bernard and Meyer de Haan and becoming a pivotal member of the School of Pont-Aven. This region represented for these artists a dramatic visual contrast to Paris. The Breton culture and way of life was quite distinctive in its unspoiled, timeless tranquility and Sérusier and his colleagues delighted in the beauty and simplicity of life in the region.
(fig. 1) Paul Gauguin, Breton Girls Dancing, Pont-Aven, 1888, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon collection. Photograph copyright Board of Trustees, The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.