The first drawing of Gauguin awarded 80,000 euros at Rouillac in Indre-et-Loire

Sunday, June 16th 2019

Agence France Presse

Photo Jean-Luc Péchinot
Montbazon (France) (AFP)

The first drawing of Paul Gauguin, a watercolor made at the age of 17, was auctioned Sunday at auction for 80,000 euros, at a sale at Rouillac Castle Artigny in Montbazon (Indre-et-Loire).

Signed "Gauguin P, July 2, 1865", this watercolor represents a Swiss chalet on the edge of an expanse of water and was sold for 80,000 euros to a French manufacturer resident in Switzerland, who took part in the sale by phone, said a correspondent of AFP.

Directed with a Chinese ink and watercolor on Canson paper, it is the "first known drawing" of Gauguin and its existence "upsets the thesis according to which Gauguin would be a self-taught painter", explained the auctioneer Aymeric Rouillac.

This painting, 39.5 cm wide and 25 high, was brought in Touraine in the fall of 2018 by a client for an expertise. Research conducted by two students from the University of Tours had authenticated the painting.

It was made under the direction of Charles Thought, professor at the Imperial High School in Orleans, where the painter's mother was trying to curb Paul's desire to embark for distant islands, according to research conducted by two students of the University of Tours who had confirmed the signature of the painter.

Gauguin had just failed in the entry examination at the Ecole Navale, but after this year in Orleans he will enter the merchant marine.

Born in 1848, Paul Gauguin spent several years in Orléans and young, he made a copy of a drawing that his teacher had made in Switzerland.

"It's a work of art, because Gauguin allows himself some changes (...) he allows himself to completely transform the model by creating a body of water while we are in the mountain pastures at altitude and we find this mischievous taste that will have Gauguin throughout his life, "said Valentin de Sa Morais one of the students in art history who participated in the research.

Private collectors, buyers of museums, about 200 people had taken place in the auction room, followed on the phone and on the Internet by buyers from around the world, including China, United States, England, Switzerland, Israel, Italy and Belgium.

One hundred and fifty lots were placed on tables, in an adjoining exhibition hall, employees, wearing white gloves, presenting objects to the public in turn.

Among the expected lots: two bronze panthers Rembrandt Bugatti, the brother of Ettore Bugatti, the automaker, auctioned for a million one hundred thousand euros to a French remained anonymous.

The record for another pair of panthers, had been reached for 750,000? at Christie? s in Paris in 2016, during the Alain Delon sale.

"This is not the first time that the million is exceeded, but it is rare (...) in the United States the amounts have already doubled for other models that are the tiger and Siberia and the baboon ", said Véronique Fromager expert for Rembrandt Bugatti.

The third piece, one of the last ten copies of François Rabelais' first novel, of 1542, was sold for 490,000 euros. In this 11 cm by 7 book are two major texts, "Pantagruel" and "Gargantua".

These jokes, written under the pseudonym of Alcofribas Nasier - anagram of François Rabelais - were sold in their day by peddlers on the village squares.
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