Previously Unknown Gauguin Hits the Auction Block

Paul Gauguin, Bouquet de roses (1884) Image courtesy of Bonhams

A previously unknown still life by Paul Gauguin, Bouquet de roses, will go to auction during the Impressionist and modern art sale on June 23 at Bonhams New Bond Street in London, according to the auction house. The painting, which was completely unknown until Bonhams contacted the anonymous seller, is expected to fetch up to £1,200,000 ($2 million). The oil on canvas piece is signed “P Gauguin 84” on the lower right, and dates from a very early stage in his art career.

According to Bonhams, “In 1884 the artist was 36 years of age and still working as a successful Parisian stock broker. However, that year saw a major financial crisis affecting the French economy and as such Gauguin, his Danish wife and their five children left their life in Paris for Rouen. The still life of flowers was, as ever, a popular commercial subject at the time and Bouquet de roses perhaps shows an attempt by Gauguin to earn a living from his art. It forms part of a series of very decorative still-lives that were more than likely an attempt by Gauguin to attract collectors to his work.”

However, just as many of the works he painted were created for specific people, Bouquet de roses was gifted by the artist to its first owner, a local politician. The yellow roses are considered a symbol of friendship.

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