Paul Gauguin - Still life with mangoes and hibiscus 1887

Still life with mangoes and hibiscus 1887
Still life with mangoes and hibiscus
1887 32x47cm oil/canvas
Sotheby's - LOT SOLD. 2,389,000 GBP Private Collection

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From Sotheby's auction house:
Gauguin's still-lifes evoke the sensuous beauty and visual splendour of the tropics. The artist painted this expertly modelled composition of exotic fruits and flora around the time of his trip to the Caribbean island of Martinique, where he stayed from June until November 1887. Although it has commonly been thought that he painted Nature morte aux mangos et à la fleur d'hibiscus while on that island, recent scholarship suggests that it was completed after the artist had already returned to Paris. When he returned to this urban European setting after several months in Martinique, Gauguin fantasised about his experiences abroad and yearned to set out again for another exotic location. Not surprisingly, some of his most striking compositions from this contemplative period at the end of 1887 are his still-lifes. In these pictures Gauguin focused on the brightly coloured orbs of succulent tropical fruit arranged loosely next to objects from his studio. The daring perspective of these pictures calls to mind the compositional procedures of Cézanne, whose still-lifes Gauguin would have seen at the last group exhibition of Impressionist paintings the previous year. But most of all, Gauguin's desire to paint these still-lifes had deeply personal underpinnings. The exotic fruits, readily available in the Paris marketplaces, were a tangible reminder of Gauguin's tropical paradise and the nearest examples of the colours, smells and tastes of his experiences abroad.
Discussing Nature morte aux mangos et à la fleur d'hibiscus in the catalogue of the recent exhibition, Gauguin and Impressionism, Richard R. Brettell wrote: ‘Gauguin returned to Paris from Martinique in mid-November 1887, moving immediately into the delightful pavilion of the Schuffenecker family in the 14th arrondissement. There he began a group of still-life paintings that culminated in a canvas of 1887-88 in the Musée d'Orsay, Still life with fan. Given that it would hardly have been difficult for him to buy tropical fruit or to find hothouse hibiscus in Paris during the 1880s, it seems most likely that he in fact painted the present work at the Schuffeneckers in dreary December 1887 - recovering from his tropical illnesses and dreaming of the warmth of another place’ (R. R. Brettell, Gauguin and Impressionism (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., p. 239).