PAUL GAUGUIN (1848-1903)
Le Calvaire Breton
woodcut in black with hand-colouring in reddish-brown, blue, and touches of yellow, circa 1898-99, on Japan paper, Kornfeld's Edition A (of D), a unique trial proof before the edition of 35 without colouring (there were also small posthumous editions in 1918 and 1928)
Sheet 156 x 260 mm. (irregular)
Gustave Fayet, Béziers.
With Galerie Pierre, Stockholm.
Sotheby's, New York, 2 November 2012, lot 60.
Richard Kelton (1929-2019), Santa Monica.
Christie's, New York, 12 November 2019, lot 343.
Mongan, Kornfeld & Joachim 50A (this impression cited).
Le Calvaire Breton is from a crucial period in Gauguin’s artistic development. It was in the small villages of the western peninsula of France that Gauguin first developed his interest in ‘primitive’ cultures that would eventually lead him to the South Seas. Fascinated by the somber, insular communities along the Aven River, with their local crafts and ceremonies, Gauguin’s images turned into moody, provocative creations. The influence of the region, through both medium and subject matter, entered Gauguin’s art almost immediately. After his first attempt at printmaking with the technically advanced zincography, Gauguin chose instead to mirror the simplicity of the coastal towns with the simplicity of the woodcut. The pastoral landscape and religious rituals of the town are evident in this image, perhaps influenced by the religious offerings he would have witnessed while surveying the region. In a further break with his fellow Impressionists he had left behind in Paris, Gauguin enhanced this early proof impression with vivid pools of hand-colouring, inspired by the simple, unaffected life he discovered in Brittany.
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