Paul Gauguin. Still Life with Three Puppies. 1888

Paul Gauguin

Still Life with Three Puppies

1888

Medium
Oil on wood
Dimensions
36 1/8 x 24 5/8" (91.8 x 62.6 cm)
Credit
Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund
Object number
48.1952
Department
Painting and Sculpture
This work is on view on Floor 5, in a Collection Gallery, with 20 other works online.
Paul Gauguin has 34 works online.
There are 2,242 paintings online.

This painting features three distinct zones: a still life of fruit in the foreground, a row of three blue goblets and apples diagonally bisecting the canvas, and three puppies drinking from a large pan. The incongruous scale and placement of these objects on a dramatically upturned tabletop results in a disorienting composition.

When Gauguin painted Still Life with Three Puppies, he was living in Brittany among a group of experimental painters. He abandoned naturalistic depictions and colors, declaring that "art is an abstraction" to be derived "from nature while dreaming before it." The puppies bodies, for example, are outlined in bold blue, and the patterning of their coats mirrors the botanic print of the tablecloth. It is thought that Gauguin drew stylistic inspiration for this painting from children's book illustrations and from Japanese prints, which were introduced to him by his friend and fellow artist Vincent van Gogh that same year.

Gallery label from 2010

When Gauguin painted Still Life with Three Puppies he was living in Brittany among a group of experimental painters. He abandoned naturalistic depictions and colors, declaring that “art is an abstraction” to be derived “from nature while dreaming before it.” The puppies’ bodies, for example, are outlined in bold blue, and the patterning of their coats mirrors the botanical print of the tablecloth. It is thought that Gauguin drew stylistic inspiration for this painting from children’s-book illustrations and from Japanese prints, which were introduced to him by his friend and fellow artist Vincent van Gogh that year.

Gallery label from 2011

This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
Amedée Schuffenecker, Paris [1]; Galerie Miethke (Carl Moll), Vienna, 1907 [2]. Acquired by Thea Sternheim (1883-1971), Munich/Brussels/Paris, 1912 [3]; on extended loan to The Museum of Modern Art, New York, April 4, 1939 [4]; seized by Alien Property Custodian, New York, July 1944; returned to Thea Sternheim, Paris, May 1951; sold (through Paul Rosenberg & Co., New York) to The Museum of Modern Art, New York, May 1952.
[1] Catalogue raisonne Wildenstein 2002, vol. 2, no. 311.
[2] Offered for sale at Gauguin exhibition at Galerie Miethke, Vienna (March 15-April 28, 1907), no. 35.
[3] Offered for sale at the "Internationale Kunstausstellung des Sonderbundes Westdeutscher Kunstfreunde und Künstler," Cologne, May 1912-September 30, 1912 (cat. no. 155: Tisch mit 3 fressenden Hündchen, 1888. Acquired from there by Thea Sternheim in 1912.
It is plausible that this work passed through Ambroise Vollard's hands at some stage before Sternheim's acquisition. See James Laver, French Painting and the Nineteenth Century. With Notes on Artists and Pictures by Michael Sevier and a Postscript by Alfred Flechtheim, New York: Charles Scribner's, 1937, p. 94, no. 129: "From the collection of M. Ambroise Vollard. / Coll.: Mme. Carl Sternheim, Paris."
Included in the auction "Van Gogh Gauguin - Renoir: Collection Mme Théa Sternheim," Frederik Muller & Cie, Amsterdam, February 11, 1919, lot 2. Unsold.
[4] Included in the exhibition Art in Our Time: 10th Anniversary Exhibition, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, May 10-September 30, 1939, no. 64.

If you have any questions or information to provide about the listed works, please e-mail provenance@moma.org or write to:

Provenance Research Project
The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019

Licensing of MoMA images and videos is handled by Art Resource (North America) and Scala Archives (all other geographic locations). All requests should be addressed directly to those agencies, which supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.