Lot: 629

Untitled (self-portrait), 1890s

Plaster, in relief, with a brownish patina. 35.7 x 34.0 x 2.5 cm. Monogrammed upper left: P GO, inscribed upper right: OVIRI. Paul Gauguin was influenced by the French ceramist Ernest Chaplet on the subject of ceramics. Gauguin made vessels since 1887 and burned his last piece in 1894 in Chaplet's furnace. His earthenware masterpiece is called Oviri. Christopher Gray, the author of the Sculpture and Ceramics of Paul Gauguin catalogue, feels Gauguin's deep disappointment and discouragement in Oviri. 'He is only 47 and has devoted himself exclusively to his artistic career for twelve years. He has the feeling that he is not making progress. (...) The subject of Oviri is Death, the Wild, the Untamed. Oviri is perched on a dead she-wolf, she is crushing her cub. Does this sculpture symbolize the death of the civilized self, which is necessary for the renewal of the artist, or is it, as Gauguin writes to Odilon Redon, 'life in death'? It can be assumed that this self-portrait was made in plaster at the same time as Oviri was created.

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Hammer Price: 12,000 €

151C - Modern Art
25. June 2020 at 3:00 PM CEST


Gray, Christopher: Sculpture and Ceramics of Paul Gauguin, Baltimore, 1963, catalogue number 109, relief shown on p. 241. With the certificate of authenticity from the Wildenstein Institute, Paris, April 12, 2016. Provenance: Estate of the Danish sculptor Nicolai Outzen Schmidt (Ribe 1844-1910 Copenhagen).