Lot 30
  • 30

Paul Gauguin

150,000 - 200,000 GBP
362,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Paul Gauguin
  • Adam et Eve (Le départ)
  • signed Paul Gauguin (lower right)
  • monotype, pencil and wash on wove paper


Gustave Fayet, Igny or Béziers (acquired either from the artist or from Ambroise Vollard by 1906)

Private Collection, France (acquired by descent from the above. Sold: Sotheby's, London, 29th November 1994, lot 36)

Purchased at the above sale by the late owner


Paris, Galerie Ambroise Vollard, Gauguin, 1903, no. 18

Paris, Grand Palais, Salon d'Automne, 4ème exposition: Œuvres de Gauguin, 1906, no. 38

Paris, Musée de Luxembourg, Sculptures de Gauguin, 1927, no. 49

Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art; Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago & Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand-Palais, The Art of Paul Gauguin, 1988-89, no. 252, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preussischer Kulturbesitz,  Linie, Licht und Schatten. Meisterzeichnungen und Skulpturen der Sammlung Jan und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 1999, no. 109, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Venice, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, The Timeless Eye. Master Drawings from the Jan and Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski Collection,1999, no. 133, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Miradas sin Tiempo. Dibujos, Pinturas y Esculturas de la Coleccion Jan y Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2000, no. 145, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André, La Passion du Dessin. Collection Jan et Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2002, no. 131, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais & Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Gauguin au Tahiti - l'atelier des Tropiques, 2003-04, no. 182, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Vienna, Albertina, Goya bis Picasso. Meisterwerke der Sammlung Jan Krugier und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2005, no. 77, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Munich, Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Das Ewige Auge - Von Rembrandt bis Picasso. Meisterwerke aus der Sammlung Jan Krugier und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2007, no. 132, illustrated in colour in the catalogue


John Rewald, Gauguin Drawings, New York, 1958, illustrated pl. 125 (titled Tahitian Couple Walking and as dating from 1900-03)

Ronald Pickvance, The Drawings of Gauguin, London, 1970, illustrated pl. 103 (titled Tahitian Couple Walking and as dating from circa 1901)

Richard S. Field, Paul Gauguin: Monotypes, Philadelphia, 1973, no. 105, illustrated p. 126 (as dating from circa 1902-03 and with incorrect medium)

Catalogue Note

Adam et Eve (Le départ) is an extraordinary example of Gauguin's monotypes and powerfully evokes his experiences of the exotic. In the catalogue entry to this work in the major Gauguin exhibition held in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Paris in 1988-89, Richard Brettell wrote: ‘This is among the most impressive and important of Gauguin’s late transfer drawings. Its scale, mystery, and economy of style separate it from many other late transfer drawings, most of which share linear character and intentional crudeness of contour. Here, the fluidity of line, graceful rhythm, and conciseness of the figural elements make this work virtually unique in Gauguin's corpus of late transfer drawings’ (R. Brettell in The Art of Paul Gauguin (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., p. 453).

The importance of this work is also commented on by Richard S. Field in his definitive book on Gauguin's monotypes:  Adam and Eve may well be the last major monotype Gauguin executed. Together with the two versions of L'Esprit veille of 1900 [Field, nos. 66 & 67] and La Fuite of 1902 [Field, no. 104] it must be reckoned as one of Gauguin's most impressive drawings’ (R. S. Field, op. cit., p. 38).

Both the figures in this work have a clear art historical source, appearing to derive from the figures of warriors on Trajan's Column in Rome (fig. 1). Gauguin is known to have taken a photograph of a detail from Trajan's Column with him to Tahiti (ibid., p. 126).

The male figure in this transfer drawing recurs in a number of other paintings, prints and transfer drawings, appearing for the first time, accompanied by a dog, in an oil painting of 1896, entitled Scène de la vie tahitienne (fig. 2). As Richard Brettell commented: ‘This figure is shown in every other representation carrying something - an axe or some bananas. Here he holds a stick that repeats the curve of a branch above the figures. The female figure, also derived from a male soldier on Trajan's Column, does not reappear in Gauguin's œuvre. With their companion dog, the two figures seem to stride purposefully toward a destination we can only guess. The head of the male figure is covered with a hood and the face is deeply shadowed, and the female figure looks slightly upward in a manner that is focused. Like many of Gauguin's late works, this one could easily be titled Where do we come from?, What are we? or Where are we going?' (R. Brettell, op. cit., p. 454).