Les Misères Humaines (Human Misery)

Paul Gauguin (French, 1848-1903)

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Image Licensing

Gauguin's album of prints featured diverse subjects drawn from his work in Brittany, Martinique, and the two months he had just spent with Van Gogh in Arles.

The woman wearing a coiffe and the Breton-style gate in the background link this scene to Brittany. As Gauguin remarked: It is an impression of the vineyards that I saw in Arles. I put in some Bretons - so much for exactitude.

This image addresses a universal theme of the human condition. The pensive girl, head in hands, also appears in Gauguin's work from Arles and the South Seas.

Paul Sérusier [1863-1927], Paris and Châteauneuf du Faou; by inheritance to his widow, Marguerite Sérusier [1879-1950]; to her friend Paule Henriette Boutaric, Paris;{1} posthumous sale of Boutaric collection at (Ader Picard Tajan, Paris) in 1984;{2} Sam Josefowitz, Lausanne; given to Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1998.

{1}Paule Henriette Boutaric collaborated on the publication by Marcel Guicheteau, Paul Sérusier, Paris, 1976. "Collections H. Boutaric" appears in pencil on the verso.
{2}Ader Picard Tajan, Paris, "Tableaux Modernes, Dessins, Aquarelles, Sculptures, Estampes provenant de la succession P. Sérusier et de la succession de Mademoiselle Boutaric, 19-20 June 1984, lot. no. 477. A stamp from this sale appears on the verso.

Object Information

Paul Gauguin (French, 1848-1903)
creation date
11-1/4 x 9 in. (image)
19-1/2 x 25-1/4 in. (sheet)
mark descriptions
Signed and dated in plate in reverse: P. Gauguin 89 Stamp on verso: "Vente des 19 et 20 juin 1984, Ader Picard-Tajan, (1) 261.80.07 Paris, Boutaric/Sérusier"
Handwritten on verso in pencil: "Collections H. Boutaric"
Dessins Lithographiques
accession number
credit line
Gift of Samuel Josefowitz in tribute to Bret Waller and Ellen Lee
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs
deaccessioned on
transfer notes
Transferred to the Musée de Pont-Aven
The zincograph is recommended for deaccession because it is a duplicate of a print acquired in December 2008, when the IMA purchased the complete 11-piece set of Paul Gauguin's prints known as the Volpini Suite. It is also in slightly inferior condition to the newly acquired work and has a trimmed sheet that is smaller than the comparable work. While it would be ideal to retain both examples of the image in order to rotate them for more frequent exhibition, the revenue from the sale of this duplicate print is needed to complete payment for the entire Volpini Suite acquired in 2008.
Deaccession Policy