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Landscape at Pont-AvenEnlarge image

Landscape at Pont-Aven, 1890

Paul Sérusier
French, 1864 - 1927
oil on canvas
65.3 x 80.8 cm
Purchased 1953
National Gallery of Canada (no. 6093)

Paul Sérusier, son of a wealthy executive of the perfume and glove manufacturer Houbigant, began art studies at the Académie Julian in 1885. Under the guidance of Paul Gauguin near Pont-Aven, Brittany, in 1888, Sérusier adopted a style remarkable for its flat planes of strong primary colour "straight from the tube." The following two summers he would return to Pont-Aven to continue work with Gauguin. The summer of 1890 proved a productive one, in which the themes of his paintings were dominated by labouring Breton peasants, including the two men quarrying rock in "Landscape at Pont Aven".

Inscriptions 

Signed and dated at lower right: P. Sérusier / 90

On the verso two inscriptions: in ink, Musée d'Albi / M. Kapferer;

in blue chalk: Kapferer 6.

Marks and Labels 

Van Wisselingh label

Galerie Druet label

Provenance 

by 1895
Paul Ranson (1864–1909), Paris, France [1]

Galerie Druet (Eugène Druet, 1868–1917), Paris, France [2]

– 1952
Henri Kapferer (b. 1870), Paris, France [3]

1952 – 1953/03
E.J. Van Wisselingh & Co., Amsterdam (Peter Eilers), The Netherlands, purchased from Henri Kapferer [4]

1953/03 –
National Gallery of Canada, purchased from Van Wisselingh & Co [5]

Notes 

[1] Paul Ranson was a painter, writer, creative leader of the Nabis group and personal friend of Paul Sérusier. Landscape at Pont-Aven (Stone-cutters) is seen on the wall of Ranson's apartment in Edouard Vuillard's painting La Dame en Bleu of 1895 [information kindly communicated by Guy Cogeval, director of the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, in a letter to Pierre Théberge, dated 1998/8/4, NGC curatorial file].

[2] The painting carries two labels by the Galerie Druet on the stretcher. Its title is marked on both labels as Tailleurs de pierre. One label is stamped with the stock number 6909, the other one with stock number: 5252 (or 5257).

[3] In two letters to the director of the National Gallery of Canada, H.O. McCurry, dated January 19, 1953 and April 4, 1953, Peter Eilers, director of Van Wisselingh & Co., mentions that the Landscape at Pont-Aven (Stone-cutters) came “from the Collection of H. Kapferer, Paris”.Two inscriptions on the verso read: “Musée d'Albi / M. Kapferer”, and “Kapferer 6”. Henri Kapferer (also: Henry), French Jewish art collector from Paris, founded the company that later became Air France. He lived together with his brother Marcel with whom he occasionally co-owned paintings. The Kapferer collection was confiscated by the “Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg” (ERR) at Château de Brissac in August 1941. Henri Kapferer was able to recover some of his artworks by 1947. It is not clear if Sérusier's Landscape at Pont-Aven (Stone-cutters) was among the looted items.

[4] The Van Wisselingh stock books record “M.Kapferer” (=Monsieur Kapferer) as owner of the painting until 1952 [Van Wisselingh archive, stock number S 7248, Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Dokumentatie, The Hague, The Netherlands].

[5] See note [4].

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