Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the movement in 1980. It was encased in 1992 in the present case featuring the enamel miniature "Vahine no te vi" after Paul Gauguin and sold on 8 October 2003. This watch has never been offered in public before.
For over 3,000 years, fine enamelling has decorated and enriched watches, jewellery and objets d'art. Patek Philippe maintains this rare craft of miniature enamelling, traditionally associated with the finest Geneva timepieces, and in many ways the most difficult of the decorative arts.
Nowadays, only few artists such as J.-L. Péter and S. Rohr (see lot 157 in this auction) still master this art. These rare Patek Philippe timepieces are, in general, made to special order with the subject matter to be represented chosen by the client. They often include famous landscape and portrait paintings, celebrities or even family members of the future owner.
The present watch was therefore most probably ordered by an admirer of Gauguin and his famous Tahitian works. The enamel miniature represents his oil painting "Vahine no te vi" or "Woman with a Mango", The Cone Collection, The Baltimore Museum of Art.
Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (8 June 1848 - 9 May 1903)
One of the leading Post-Impressionist painters, Gauguin was born in Paris as a descendant of Spanish settlers in South America and the viceroy of Peru. At the age of 17 he joined the French merchant navy, travelling around the world for six years. After the death of his mother in 1867, he settled down with his wealthy guardian, Gustave Arosa, who had a large art collection that included works by Delacroix. This period in time shaped Gauguin's interest in the arts. He started collecting Impressionist paintings, and became an amateur painter.
Gauguin began his career as a stockbroker in Paris in 1872. He attended the Impressionist's first exhibition in 1874, and was captivated by the impressionist style. He purchased works by Monet, Pissarro, Renoir and others. His exposure to the Impressionists reinforced his desire to become a painter.
From 1891 to 1893, and again from 1895 until his death, he lived in Tahiti where his painting style evolved to reflect the Pacific Islands' primitive forms and brilliant colours. His striking images of Polynesian women rank among the most beautiful paintings of the modern age. On 9 May 1903, Gauguin, dissipated by drug-addiction, died of a heart attack on Hiva Oa Island in the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia.
The present watch is decorated with a "Feuille d'acanthe" or "acanthus leaf" motif. In the ancient Greek and Roman world the garden plant Acanthus mollis was so popular that a design in the shape of an acanthus leaf was used to decorate the tops of Corinthian columns.