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Landscape with Poplars

Paul Gauguin (French, 1848-1903)


This landscape ranks among Gauguin's most ambitious early works, painted in the 1870s while he was still a bank agent.

With its dark color scheme and naturalistic treatment of the countryside, the canvas shows the influence of Barbizon painter Charles François Daubigny. It is nevertheless a work of considerable originality that reveals Gauguin's dramatic temperament. Seen in a profile against the tempestuous sky, the slender poplars seem to cower before the menacing presence of the enormous trees. The lone laundress in the center of the landscape is dwarfed by her setting, a typically Romantic reference to the power of nature. Earth and sky clash with an abruptness unknown to Daubigny.

Clara Gauguin, wife of the artist’s son, Copenhagen. Bekgaard, Copenhagen.{1} Sold at (Winkel and Magnussen, Copenhagen) in 1936;{2} Axel Bruun, Copenhagen. {3} L. (Louis) F. Foght, Copenhagen; Sold at (Sotheby’s, London) in 1960;{4} (John Mitchell, London);{5} Mr. and Mrs. Kurt F. Pantzer [1892-1979], Indianapolis, in 1960;{6} Bequest of Kurt F. Pantzer to the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1982 (82.54).

{1}This early provenance is found in Daniel Wildenstein, Gauguin: A Savage in the Making – Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings (1873-1888), vol. 1, Paris, Milan, 2002, cat. no. 13.
{2} Merete Bodelsen notes that this painting was lot. no. 51 at auction at Winkel and Magnussen, Copenhagen, 1 April 1936 (auction no. 196), and that it sold to Axel Bruun, Copenhagen. See Meret Bodelsen, “The Dating of Gauguin’s Early Paintings,” Burlington Magazine, vol. 107 (June 1965), p. 310.
{3}See footnote above.
{4}Sotheby’s, London, Catalogue of Important Impressionist and Modern Paintings and Sculpture, Part II, including…The Property of the late Louis Foght, 6 July 1960, lot no. 167 (ill.) Although the first Wildenstein catalogue raisonné, Gauguin: Catalogue I, Paris, 1964, lists the name Johan Rohde as a former owner, this was not the case. (Paintings owned by the late Mrs. Asa Johan Rohde were present in the 6 July 1960 sale at Sotheby’s which may account for this confusion.)
{5}The list of “Prices and Buyers’ Names” identifies John Mitchell as the buyer of lot. no. 167.
{6}For biographical material on Pantzer, see A Passionate Eye and a Public Spirit: Kurt F. Pantzer and the J.M.W. Turner Collection, Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1992.

Object Information

artist
Paul Gauguin (French, 1848-1903)
creation date
1875
materials
oil on canvas
dimensions
32 x 39-3/16 in.
mark descriptions
signed and dated, L.L.: Gauguin '75
accession number
82.54
credit line
Bequest of Kurt F. Pantzer, Sr.
copyright
Public Domain
collection
European Painting and Sculpture to 1945
colors