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The Quarries of Le Chou near PontoiseEnlarge image

The Quarries of Le Chou near Pontoise, 1882

Paul Gauguin
French, 1848 - 1903
oil on canvas
59.4 x 73 cm
Purchased 1947 with the assistance of a gift from H.S. Southam, Ottawa
National Gallery of Canada (no. 4842)

This early painting reveals the influence of Camille Pissarro, who lived in Pontoise. Gauguin spent his vacations with the older artist and was probably at his side when Pissarro painted a similar view. A year after painting this work, Gauguin gave up his employment as a stockbroker, devoting himself to his art.

Additional Information 

Research note:

Former NGC curator Michael Pantazzi identified the painting as the one Gauguin descibed in a letter to Pissarro on November 9th 1882: “J'ai terminé une toile de 50 que j'ai beaucoup travaillé. C'est la repetition du temps gris à la carrière que j'avais fait a Pontoise. Bertaux à qui je devais un billet de mille francs me l'achtète et j'aurauis bien voulu que vous me donniez votre avis avant que le tableau ne parte.”[MerlhèsVictor (ed.). "Correspondance de Paul Gauguin: documents, témoignages." Paris: Fondation Singer-Polignac, 1984, p. 36]. Michael Pantazzi consequently added Emile Armand Bertaux (born 1848) to the painting's provenance, who was a stockbroker at the banking house G. Lafuite's and a friend of Gauguin's. This decision, however, was somehow problematic, since Gauguin's description of the painting does not completely match the NGC's Quarries of Le Chou. The NGC's painting is neither of the right size (“toile de 50”), nor is it depicting the landscape in grey weather (“temps gris”). Sylvie Crussard offers a different explanation: she suggests that the NGC's The Quarries of Le Chou [Crussard, no. 86] was painted in the artist's studio after a nearly identical landscape [Crussard no 85]. She believes, that a third version of the The Quarries of Le Chou existed [Crussard, no. 87], a study in grey weather on a '50' canvas, which is now lost. She thinks that this third version was the one Gauguin sold to Bertaux in 1882.

Marks and Labels 

Inscriptions on the back of the canvas:

"DINING ROOM", "BACK OF DOOR" and "1 TOP"

On stretcher: “(illegible)… 1946… (illegible)… Amsterdam

Provenance 

Etienne Bignou (1891–1950), Paris, France (?) [1]

Raphaël Gérard, Paris, France [2]

–1946
Alex Reid & Lefèvre Ltd., London, England, purchased from Raphaël Gérard [3]

1946 – 1947
E.J. Van Wisselingh & Co., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, purchased from Reid & Lefèvre [4]

1947
National Gallery of Canada, purchased from Van Wisselingh [5]

Notes 

The main source for this provenance is Sylvie Crussard's catalogue raisonné, no. 86

[Crussard, Sylvie. "Gauguin, Premier itineraire d'un sauvage. Catalogue de l'Oeuvre Peint (1873–1888)." Paris: Wildenstein–Institute, 2001, vol. 1, no. 86]. Exceptions and other supporting documents are noted.

[1] Crussard is not sure if Bignou ever owned the work. In her provenance she lists his name with a question mark. Bignou owned an art gallery in the Rue la Boétie, Paris, from 1909–26, before he became director of the Reid & Lefèvre Gallery in London.

[2] Gérard was a Belgian art dealer in Paris. Crussard does not provide any evidence for Gérard's ownership.

[3] The stock book of E.J. Van Wisselingh & Co. records London art dealer Reid & Lefèvre as owners of the paintings until 1946 [Van Wisselingh Archive, stock number S 6874, Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Dokumentatie, The Hague, The Netherlands].

[4] See note [3]. The painting was exhibited by Peter Eilers of Van Wisselingh & Co. at Watsons Art Galleries, Montreal in March 1947 [“French paintings of the XIXth and XXth centuries: collection of Mr. P. Eilers.” Watson Art Galleries, Montreal, until March 15 1947, cat. no. 20 as Paysage a Pont Aven] and sold to the National Gallery of Canada the same year.

[5] The NGC accession log only gives the year of acquisition [NGC curatorial file].

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