Landscape with Poplars

Paul Gauguin (French, 1848-1903)

Currently on View in H211
Image Licensing

  • Set against a stormy sky, a thin row of poplars is dwarfed by the looming presence of enormous trees to the right. A lone laundress, barely visible at lower center, works within this ominous landscape. These dramatic differences in scale are typically Romantic references to the power of nature.
  • The color scheme is dominated by green and gray earth tones, revealing Gauguin’s awareness of Barbizon School painters such as Charles François Daubigny, whose works also hang in this gallery.
  • Yet the scene’s dark mood and unusual composition make it a work of considerable originality. This large early canvas, painted while Gauguin was still working in a bank agency, suggests his ambition and dramatic temperament.

Clara Gauguin, wife of the artist's son, Copenhagen, Denmark. 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, England) in 1960; {4} (John Mitchell, London); {5} Mr. and Mrs. Kurt F. Pantzer [1892-1979], Indianapolis, Indiana, 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. 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, 06 July 1960, lot 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 06 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. 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

Paul Gauguin (French, 1848-1903)
creation date
oil on canvas
32 x 39-3/16 in. (canvas)
38-1/2 x 45 x 2-1/2 in. (framed)
mark descriptions
Signed and dated, l.l.: Gauguin '75
accession number
credit line
Bequest of Kurt F. Pantzer, Sr.
Public Domain
European Painting and Sculpture 1800-1945

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