a so far unknown painting
by Paul Gauguin . . .
Startpage · Photos · Description · History · Newspaper articles · Scientific investigation (PDF german) · Scientific investigation (PDF french) · over Gauguin (Wikipedia) · Contact

Current selection: History

That painting was found in the year 1979 in a mansion in the near of Belgrade. It was appropriate between a pile of daily newspapers issued in 1938. The picture was totally stuck, damp and dirty. A part of the newspapers adhered to the picture.

In the year 1980 the picture was brought to a painting restorer (name known). The picture was paintedt over with a reddish glaze. Only outlines were evident and the signature could be weakly read.

The restorer started, after hesitating a while, with the restoration of the picture. The reddish glaze with that the picture was painted over went off the picture and the current condition of the picture was to be seen. At that time the restorer expressed its personal conviction already that it concerned a genuine work of Paul Gauguin.

One year later, in the year 1981, appeared in the Croatian newspaper "Vecernji List" reports concerning an art collector named Erich Slomovic. From the reports it results that the collector Erich Slomovic was employed as a young man by the art dealer Ambroise Vollard in Paris. This must have been in the period of 1931 up to the death of the Ambroise Vollard in 1937. It is also suggested the fact that the collector Slomovic maintained an intimate relationship to Ambroise, whereby it was known that Ambroise was probably homosexual.

In the year 1938 Erich Slomovic returned to Zagreb. He deposited in Paris 190 pictures in a bank safe in view of the uncertain political situation. The remaining works he took away. This bank safe was shortly before reports in the newspaper "Vecernji List" were published, opened by that Paris bank and the pictures came to the daylight.

After Erich Slomovic had returned from France to Zagreb, it came to the Second World War. The newspaper "Vecernji List" published on 23.11.1940 an article that the collector Erich Slomovic decided to start an exhibition of the pictures.

After the exhibition in Zagreb Erich Slomovic moved to Belgrade. Due to its Jewish origin he was pursued by the Nazis and fled to Bacin in close proximity to Varvarin. His father Bernhard his brother Egon had died. Later also he fell victim of the Nazis. His mother Rose had survived, then however died by train accident. With the train journey she wanted to bring the collection from Bacin to Belgrade. This was 15 days before the release of Belgrade. Mrs. Rose Slomovic has herself spoke with Dr.Riba and asked for an audience. Dr. Riba, who was a very good friend of Erich Slomovic, should take over the collection for the national museum. Therefore it had to be transported to Belgrade.

The entire art collection was stowed away in the railway truck No. 113 of the train from Nis to Belgrade. In December night this train had an accident 7 km before Velikeplane. In the railroad truck were also two women and two children. Large metal cartridges, pictures etc. were burned by the flames in the wooden railroad truck. There were many dead ones, under them also Rose Slomovic, the mother of Erich Slomovic.

In the post-war period many art objects from this collection were distributed over Europe. It became official that in foreign diplomat circles one whisper, that one can buy painting from french impressionists in Belgrade on the black market and under the hand.

It is clear that after the train accident only a part of the collection reached Dr. Iwan Riba for publication. These remaining part of the collection Slomovic was delivered to the national museum of Belgrade. From the reports it results that these pictures were from the inheritance of Ambrois Vollard, who was the closest friend of the collector Slomovic.

There is a large probability that the painting comes from the collection of Erich Slomovic and ranks among the missing pictures, which didn’t come to Dr. Iwan Riba.

On 28.4.2003 the laboratory Professor Dr. Jäger and Dr. Jägers in Brühl finished a scientific investigation of the picture which came to the result that it gives no arguments against an allocation to Paul Gauguin.

On back at the edge of the backside is a stamp (probable a stamps of customs of the port authority Marseille).

So far the picture is probably not listed, i.e. unknown. As already stated, some works from the Slomovic collection got lost, so that it is not to be excluded that also this picture belongs to the missing ones and that it possibly assign to those sold after the war on the black market.

While studying various Gauguin literature one can notice that the woman illustrated in the picture exhibits a certain similarity with the woman shown in the picture "Land der Wonnen" (see P. Gauguin the lost Paradies, Folkwang museum Essen, page 74). On page 76 in the aforementioned work of the museum it is mentioned that the woman of the picture "Land der Wonnen" does not appear on any other work of Gauguin. For this reason the researchers are of the opinion that it is probably "Fiti". If Gauguin really painted this woman, then barely more than one or two times, because the period of its living together under a one roof only took a few weeks.

The author Kostenewitsch contradicts this view. He holds it for more probable that it does not concern the Titi. The woman in "Land der Wonnen" embodies a normal primitive woman.

Also pictures painted in 1892 show less the otherwise often fine-linked painted woman portraits, but rather fat persons, thus for example on the posters 22, above all 23 of the aforementioned work of the museum.

Beyond that while studying the work "P. Gauguin of the Tahiti", Hatje Cantz Verlag, the following circumstances can be noticeable:

a) On page 20 lower part and page 21 upper part, the author Christoph Becker speaks of still life of Gauguin of the late 80th, and that these developed for stylistic reasons before the first Tahiti journey during his stay in Paris.

To that extent it is remarkable that the back of this picture has another picture painted as still life, which shows a view from the window of a room, in which a left-standing metal bed and a picture hanging on the wall are the only things to cognize, to other houses.

b) It is quite possible that the aforementioned back picture was painted on the basis of a photographic pattern like Mr. Becker mentioned it on page 24 in the lower part of its work.

c) On page 26, 2. Paragraph of the work of Mr. Becker it is represented that around the turn of the year 1891/92 pictures were developed, which differed from the preceding stylistics. The compositions were limited laminar, the outlines harder and the formal and coloured repertoire bacame isolated. Gauguin used apparently primitive design principles. Furthermore it is implemented that Gauguin itself was oriented by these pictures from photos of reliefs from different culture areas of the Roman antique etc. On page 32 of the work of Mr. Becker two designs with woman heads are represented, which remind very strongly to this picture.

d) On page 36, 2. Paragraph, 6 last line Mr. Becker writes that Gauguin reported in June 1892 in letters from changes in its work. He would begin to accept now really a "oceanic character" etc. These remarks speak for the fact that Gauguin preferred more primitive representations up to this time as the here available picture.

e) Page 52-57: The women illustrated on these sides exhibit a large similarity with the picture here.

f) Page 58: The author writes that Tea' Amana was large and rather fat.

g) Page 59: In April or May 1893 Gauguin wrote that he wasn’t working for the last 2 months. He observed only and thought and made sketches. During two years, only a few months were lost, he made 66 more or less good pictures and some woodcarvings. This is enough for only one human beeing.

h) Page 62, 2. Paragraph: Gauguin sold a larger number of paintings after its arrival in Marseille at 30.8.1893, in order to erase its debits. Then he prepared the exhibition in the gallery Durand Ruel.

i) Except in the gallery Durand Ruel Gauguin was also present in two exhibitions of the gallery Le bark de Boutteville and from December with early works in the gallery of Ambroise Vollard.

One can assume that the picture comes from the collection "Slomovic" and Slomovic acquired this picture during its stay in France, either with Ambroise Vollard or otherwise. More speaks for the first variant. It is possible that one can use the "Fond Vollard" in Paris, which encloses an extensive documentation concerning the work of the art dealer, to win further information.

Startpage · Photos · Description · History · Newspaper articles · Scientific investigation (PDF german) · Scientific investigation (PDF french) · over Gauguin (Wikipedia) · Contact

Paul Gauguin

hosted by sc/bbj (c) 2006