Crayon on paper, circa 1880-85. 162x232 mm; 6 5/8x9 1/8 inches.
Ex-collection Schweitzer Gallery, New York, with the label verso; private collection, Detroit.
This work is accompanied by a copy of the inventory card from Schweitzer Gallery.
At the outset of his artistic career, Gauguin (1848-1903) exhibited his works with the Impressionists in Paris, among whom he found an independent spirit like his own. Gauguin became a professional artist after the stock market crash of 1882 and eventually moved his family to Copenhagen. Restless and a self-described "savage", Western society did not appeal to Gauguin and he decided to become an itinerant artist, traveling between Europe and remote destinations including French Polynesia. Gauguin became a vanguard of the Symbolist and Primitivist movements, which touted the importance of returning to pure, primal expression, connectiveness to nature, and spirituality through manipulation of color and brushstrokes.
Among the most well-known artistic encounters in art history was between Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890), who became roommates in Arles during the late 1880s. Their friendship was complex and fraught with emotion. It was during this time when Van Gogh famously severed his own ear after an argument with Gauguin. Both artists were productive during this time, often painting the countryside, its haystacks and cypresses together.