The Artist's Portfolio, Pont Aven

Artist: Paul Gauguin (French, Paris 1848–1903 Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands)

Date: 1894

Medium: Two inside covers decorated in watercolor and gouache over charcoal with graphite on heavy gray wove (blotting) paper sewn to leather; leather binding inscribed in pen and ink with additions in watercolor; multicolored silk ribbons stitched into binding.

Dimensions: each drawing: 16-3/4 x 10-3/8 in. (42.5 x 26.4 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Promised Gift of Leon D. and Debra R. Black, and Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer and Florence B. Selden Bequests, and 1999 Benefit Fund, 2000

Accession Number: 2000.255


After returning to paint in the Breton village of Pont-Aven in summer 1894, Gauguin suddenly found his activity restricted by a fractured leg suffered in a brawl. Thus, instead of standing before an easel, he was forced to spend much of his time seated, creating works on paper, which he must have placed in this hand-made portfolio. He decorated the inside with motifs inspired by his picturesque surrounds and penned a mock-heroic dedication to the local innkeeper on the leather cover, perhaps marking the grand finale to a drunken evening spent with artist cronies whose names are included in the inscriptions. One of Gauguin's most appealing excursions into the decorative arts, this extraordinary work remained virtually unknown until its sale at a Paris auction in 2000.