About Famous Artists

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Samuel Courtauld and Paul Gauguin

  • July 28, 2014
  • Gauguin
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Samuel Courtauld (1876-1947) was a pioneering art collector, one of the first to show interest in Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings and acquiring the majority of his collection in a short period from 1923 to 1930. He assembled one of the first major groups of works by artist Paul Gauguin.

Courtauld bought his first Gauguin paintings in 1923. He purchased Bathers at Tahiti, 1897 and Haymaking, or The Haystacks, 1889, for £1,500. A few years later he sold Bathers in Tahiti. Courtauld purchased Martinique Landscape, 1887, the earliest of the paintings in his collection, in 1928 and sold it within about three years.

Courtauld also owned two of Gauguin’s Tahitian paintings, Nevermore, 1897, which he purchased in 1927 and Te Rerioa (The Dream), the last Gauguin painting acquired by Courtauld, which he paid £13,600 for. Te Rerioa was described by art critic Roger Fry as “the masterpiece Gauguin”.

Along with the five paintings, Courtauld also acquired ten prints by Gauguin and a rare marble sculpture of the artist’s wife, Mette, which he purchased in 1925 for £288.

Samuel Courtauld held his final Gauguin purchase in his home for just three years before presenting it, as well as many of his Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings to The Courtauld Institute of Art in 1932 as a founding gift. The remainder of his collection was bequeathed to the Institute upon his death.

To learn more visit The Courtauld Gallery.

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