Paul Gauguin

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Paul Gauguin
1848-1903
The Queen (Te arii vahine). Verso: Head and feet of a woman
1896-1897
Watercolor, with opaque watercolor, over black chalk; verso: study of a head and feet in black chalk, on wove paper.
6 15/16 x 9 1/2 inches (176 x 235 mm)
Thaw Collection.
2006.55

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This watercolor is a version of Gauguin’s canvas of 1896 Te arii vahine (Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow), one of the first works he executed after returning permanently to Tahiti. He claimed that this painting was “much better than anything I’ve done previously.” The title Gauguin gave the work translates literally as “The Female King,” and the model was probably Pahura a Tai, a thirteen-year- old Tahitian girl. The colors used in this repetition are different from those in the painting and establish the watercolor as an independent drawing in which Gauguin continued to explore color harmonies.

Inscription: 
Signed at lower left, PG; inscribed, lower center, TE ARII VAHINE.
Provenance: 
Ambroise Vollard, Paris; Baron Von Bodenhausen; Mr. and Mrs. Ward Cheney, New York; private collection; Acquavella Galleries, New York; Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw, New York.
Bibliography: 

Thaw Catalogue Raisonné, 2017, no. 144, repr.
Denison, Cara D. et al. The Thaw Collection : Master Drawings and New Acquisitions. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1994, no. 89.
The Art of Paul Gauguin. Washington, Chicago, and Paris: National Gallery of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, 1988, no. 215 and 215a.
The Lure of the Exotic: Gauguin in New York Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2002, cat. no. 96, p. 122.
From Leonardo to Pollock: Master drawings from the Morgan Library. New York: Morgan Library, 2006, cat. no. 92, p. 192-193.

Notes: 

Watermark: none.
This watercolor is a version of Gauguin's canvas of 1896 Te arii vahine (Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow), one of the first works he executed after returning permanently to Tahiti. He claimed that this painting was “much better than anything I've done previously.” The title Gauguin gave the work translates literally as “The Female King,” and the model was probably Pahura a Tai, a thirteen-year- old Tahitian girl. The colors used in this repetition are different from those in the painting and establish the watercolor as an independent drawing in which Gauguin continued to explore color harmonies.

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