Gauguin in question

Paul Gauguin, Women and a White Horse, 1903

The researcher of the artist’s work has questioned the attribution of works of the late period.

The sensational version that a part of Paul Gauguin’s works did not belong to him has appeared in The Washington Post. A self-named art detective Fabrice Furmanoir claims that Gauguin`s works of the late period were created by the order of Ambroise Vollard, who wanted to capitalize on the sudden surge in demand for the artist’s work.

According to well-known biographical data, in the last years of his life, Paul Gauguin was ill, suffered, and died in 1903 at the age of 54. During the period of exacerbation of the disease, he was unable to engage in art. George Shackelford, one of the researchers of Gauguin’s work, says that the fact he could paint in the first months of 1903 is a miracle.

Furmanoir believes that the works Women and the White Horse, Conjuration from the Boston Museum, as well as 13 other works from the museums of Prague, Jerusalem, and Zurich, dated 1903, are forgeries made in the last year of the artist’s life. In addition to the actual dating of the works and the difficult conditions for the artist’s work in the last months of his life, Furmanoir maintains his position by the fact that stylistically the works of this period (for example, The Conjuration) are most like a compilation from some of his more famous paintings. And in some other works, for example, in the composition Women and the White Horse, the landscape most of all resembles the views of Tahiti, and not the Marquesas Islands, where Gauguin moved in 1901.

Fabrice Furmanoir is not a professional art critic, but he has been studying Gauguin’s work for most of his life. At one time, the art and personality of the artist captured him so much that he lived for some time in Tahiti and other islands, repeating the path of Gauguin in order to feel the atmosphere of the places depicted in his paintings. And if earlier the art community was inclined to be skeptical about the opinion of the self-taught expert, then, after his research, the Getty Museum was forced to admit that the sculpture Head with Horns did not belong to Gauguin’s hand, they began to listen to his words.

There was no reaction from the official representatives of museums and specialists on Gauguin`s work. It is likely that many of his paintings of the later period will be subjected to additional research.


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