PAUL GAUGUIN 1848 – 1903
Paris 1848 – 1903 Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia (French)
Title: The Devil Speaks | Mahna no varua ino, 1893/94 (1921)
Technique: Original Signed, Numbered and Inscribed Woodcut on Grey Chine Paper
Paper size: 26.5 x 41.5 cm. / 10.4 x 16.3 in.
Image size: 20.3 x 35 cm. / 8 x 13.7 in.
Additional Information: This woodcut is hand signed in pencil by the artist’s son “Pola Gauguin” at the lower right corner.
It is also hand numbered upper left corner “no 68” (68/100) and inscribed in pencil “Paul Gauguin fait” [made by Paul Gauguin] at the lower left margin.
It is a posthumous impression printed in Copenhagen by Gauguin’s son in 1921 and it was published by Chr. Cato, Copenhagen.
It is one of the plates of Gauguin’s celebrated “Noa Noa Suite”, inspired by his years in Tahiti.
The work is additionally signed in the image by the artist “PGO” at the lower left.
Note: In Tahiti Gauguin did not find the untouched paradise that he had hoped. Instead of depicting the reality of a colonized land, he set out to paint his idealised Polynesian experience. Upon his return to Paris from Tahiti in August 1893, Gauguin began a fictional account of these years, which he entitled “Noa No”a (Fragrant scent) and illustrated with a set of ten woodcuts based on his Tahitian paintings. Gauguin’s friends saw these intentionally naïve works at the artist’s Paris studio in December 1894. Two art critics who attended, Julien Leclerq and Charles Morice, praised the crudely carved woodcuts as a revolution in the art of printmaking.
The book, however, was never published, and it was not until 1921, when Gauguin’s son Pola painstakingly printed an edition of the eight surviving Noa Noa woodblocks, that these were available to the public.
There is another impression of this work in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Literature: Mongan, Kornfeld and Joachim. “Paul Gauguin: Catalogue Raisonné of his Prints”. Bern: Galerie Kornfeld. 1988.
Reference: Kornfeld 19 IV. E.
Condition: Very good condition. Soft creasing in the upper corners and the lower margin. Remnants of hinging tape, verso.