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Flowers of France, 1891
|Artist||Gauguin, Eugène Henri Paul||
Signed and dated. bottom left: P Gauguin 91
Inscribed on the table. bottom right: TE TIARE FARANI
Pushkin Museum, inv. no. 3370
Provenance: This painting was at the auction of Gauguin’s work in the Hétel Drouot in Paris on February 16, 1895 (no. 24 was bought by the painter for 340 francs): c. 1906. Vollard Gallery. Paris (?): bought by I. Morozov from Vollard Gallery in 1908: 1919. Second Museum of Modern Western Painting, Moscow: 1923. Museum of Modern Western Art. Moscow, no. 298: since 1948. Pushkin Museum. Moscow.
The year 1891, in which the painting was dated. was a decisive year in Gauguin’s personal and professional life. This was the year he left France and went to Tahiti. The treatment of the still life—a tabletop with a pitcher of large flowers—betrays the influence of Cézanne’: lessons; the compositional structure of the picture and the arrangement of the figures cut by the frame reveal a debt to the traditions of Monet and Degas.
The mood of The Flowers of France is very similar to the one in Monet’s Breakfast in the Studio. There is a direct connection between the figure of the Tahitian looking out of the picture at the view and the pose of the young man in a straw hat bent over a table in the work by Monet, the central figure in the painting Breakfast in the Studio. If we consider Monet's version as an explanation of the young man’s internal feelings. then we see that it fully corresponds to Gauguin’s own mood when he made his decision to leave Europe and settle in Polynesia. In the painting. the young man is standing at a map, evidently getting ready for traveling. In this way, the nostalgic feelings prompted in the painting are not just reminiscences of home while living abroad, but are also a last farewell to the painter's former idols, Cézanne. Degas, and Monet, whose work delighted Gauguin. In Gauguin’s notebooks. there is a study of a figure of a young Tahitian man in a hat. A similar face of a Tahitian in a hat can be found on a sheet of paper with sketches (Rewald. no. 36).
The Flowers of France is one of the first of Gauguin’s paintings in which he uses a Tahitian phrase revealing its actual meaning: “Te Tiare Farani” is translated as Flowers of France (Bouge. 1956. p. 164. no. 61; Danielsson. 1967. p. 233, no. 77).
|Institution||Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow|
|Medium||Oil on canvas|
|Dimensions||72 x 92 см|