Paul Gauguin

Harvest: Le Pouldu


Not on display

Paul Gauguin 1848–1903
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 730 × 921 mm
frame: 994 × 1182 × 96 mm
Accepted by HM Government in lieu of tax and allocated to the Tate Gallery 1966

Display caption

Gauguin executed this harvest scene whilst staying at Le Pouldu in Cap Finistère, Brittany. He had been the central figure of a group of painters at the nearby village of Pont-Aven. Then in 1890 he moved to Le Pouldu in search of an even simpler way of life. By this time Gauguin had abandoned his early Impressionist manner. Influenced by folk art and primitive art, he began to use flat areas of colour and a distorted perspective in his paintings. The landscape and life of the peasant community inspired some of the most rugged and radically simplified works of his career.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

Paul Gauguin 1848-1903

T00895 Harvest: Le Pouldu 1890

Inscribed 'P. Gauguin 90' b.r.
Oil on canvas, 28 3/4 x 36 1/4 (73 x 92)
Accepted by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue in part satisfaction of Estate Duty, and transferred to the Tate Gallery 1966
Prov: With Ambroise Vollard, Paris; C. Maresco Pearce, London, 1912
Exh: Paul Gauguin, Leicester Galleries, London, July 1924 (50) as 'Le Pouldu'; Opening Exhibition of the Modern Foreign Gallery, Tate Gallery, June-October 1926 (works not numbered); Landscape in French Art 1550-1900, RA, London, December 1949-March 1950 (289); Paul Gauguin: Paintings, Engravings and Sculpture, RSA, Edinburgh, August-September 1955 (36, repr.); Tate Gallery, September-October 1955 (36, repr.); Gauguin and the Pont-Aven Group, Tate Gallery, January-February 1966 (34, repr.)
Lit: C. Lewis Hind, 'Paul Gauguin: Reflections on his "Red Dog Landscape" 'in Colour, VI, 1917, pp.95, 98, repr. p.95 in colour; Douglas Cooper, The Courtauld Collection (London 1954), p.73; Denys Sutton, 'Notes on Paul Gauguin apropos a Recent Exhibition' in Burlington Magazine, XCVIII, 1956, p.84 and note; Georges Wildenstein, Gauguin (Paris 1964), No.396, Vol.1, pp.152-3, repr. p.152 as 'La Moisson au Bord de la Mer'
Repr: Ronald Alley, Gauguin (London 1968), pl.2 in colour

Gauguin stayed in Brittany in 1890 from June until early November, moving between Pont-Aven and Le Pouldu. The headland in the centre of this picture is almost certainly the one situated at the western end of what is now called 'Le Pouldu Plage' about a mile from the village of Le Pouldu. The beach itself appears at the left of the picture and the coast on the other side of the entrance to the Laïta at the top. Gauguin subsequently used a simplified version of this landscape as the background for his Symbolist composition 'The Loss of Virginity' painted in Paris in the winter of 1890-1.

Purchased by the painter Maresco Pearce from Vollard in the autumn of 1912, it was one of the first major Post-Impressionist paintings to be acquired by an English collector. Mr Pearce told Denys Sutton that he first encountered Gauguin's work at the Salon d'Automne of 1906 and was completely won over at the time of the first Post-Impressionist exhibition in 1910.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.268-9, reproduced p.268

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