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Arearea no varua ino (Words of the Devil)

  • Listed: January 1, 1970 12:00 am
  • Title: Arearea no varua ino (Words of the Devil)
  • Artist: Paul Gauguin
  • Origins:
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  • Last Sale price: 408 545,00
  • Last Sale date:
Arearea no varua ino (Words of the Devil)


Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) Arearea no varua ino (Words of the Devil) monotype printed with watercolour and gouache (?), with tracing lines in blue, 1894, on firm machine-made tan simili -Japan paper, printed to or close to the edges of the sheet, the paper slightly toned, in very good condition, framed S. 275 x 237 mm.
Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Paris (L. 657); with his red atelier stamp on the backboard of the frame. Private collection, Stockholm; acquired in Paris around 1918-25; then by descent to the present owner.
Richard S. Field, Paul Gauguin: Monotypes , Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 1973 (not recorded; see nos. 8, 9 & 10 for related works). Elizabeth Mongan, Eberhard Kornfeld, Harold Joachim, Paul Gauguin – Catalogue raisonné of his Prints , Bern, 1988 (see no. 23 for Manao Tupapau ). Richard Brettell et al., The Art of Paul Gauguin , National Gallery of Art, Washington/ Art Institute of Chicago, 1988 (not included; see nos. 192, 193 & 208 for related works). Colta Ives et al., The Private Collection of Edgar Degas – A Summary Catalogue , Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1997 (see pp. 56 & 57, nos. 492, 496, 497 & 503). Peter Kort Zegers, ‘In the Kitchen with Paul Gauguin: Devising Recipes for a Symbolist Graphic Aesthetic’, in: Harriet K. Stratis & Britt Salvesen (eds.), The Broad Spectrum: Studies in Materials, Techniques, and Conservation of Color on Paper , London, 2002, pp. 138-44). Starr Figura et al., Gauguin – Metamorphoses , Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2014, pp. 226-28.
The present, previously unrecorded monotype of Arearea no varua ino has been in the same family for three generations and was acquired by the current owner’s grandfather in Paris around 1918-25. It was – and still is – in Edgar Degas’ original frame with the Atelier Ed. Degas stamp, applied by his executors upon his death in 1917, on the reverse. It is not certain when Degas, who was one of the earliest collectors of Gauguin’s works, acquired it himself. He bought several monotypes in Gauguin’s sale at Hôtel Drouot on 18 February 1895, and this may be one of two works included in lot 56, described by Degas in his inventory as ‘ 2 femmes à Taiti, l’une assise, l’autre debout, impression à l’eau ’ (Ives p. 57, no. 503). The print must have then been sold separately after Degas’ death, as it does not seem to have been included in his posthumous sale of prints in 1918. Another monotype from the same family collection, also from Degas’ estate, was sold in these rooms in 1989 ( Ia orana Maria , 29-30 June 1989, lot 291, for £176,000) (Ives, p. 56, no. 492). When we first saw Arearea no varua ino recently, it was laid down on to a sheet of Bristol teinte card. Yet, upon closer inspection, another print was just discernible on its reverse. Careful removal of the backing sheet revealed part of the colour lithograph Modistes by René-Georges Hermann-Paul (1864-1940) on the verso (see fig. 1). Published in March 1894, this print was included in the sixth instalment of L’Estampe Originale (see lot 19 of this sale), to which Gauguin himself had contributed his lithograph Manao tupapau (Mongan 23). On several occasions Gauguin had re-used the reverse of his own prints for other works. We know however only of one case where he had re-purposed the reverse of work by another artist: the monotype Aha oe feii? (Field 10, Brettell 208; Art Institute of Chicago), which is in fact printed onto the back of another part of Hermann-Paul’s lithograph. The two monotypes must have been created on the same day or within a few days of each other. The figure of the sitting woman and of the Tahitian idol in the background of the present monotype are closely related to a painting of the same title (Wildenstein 514; Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen – see fig. 2), dated 1894 and dedicated ‘ A Md Gloanec ’, his landlady in Pont-Aven during the summer and early autumn of that year. It is generally agreed that Gauguin’s paintings always precede monotypes of re

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