Rare Gauguin sculpture to be sold in New York

An intricate wooden bust carved by Paul Gauguin is expected to sell for as much as $15 million when it is auctioned on May 3, according to Sotheby's.

"Jeune tahitienne," which was carved by Gauguin during his first trip to Tahiti between 1891 and 1893, depicts a young, unidentified Tahitian woman and includes jewelry which Gauguin made himself using seashells and pieces of red coral.

A piercing left on the ear is believed by experts to have once held a flower, and two foxes carved in the back of the neck represent a sort of signature Gauguin often used, with the foxes being representative of sexuality.

"It's rare to see a piece of art of such great quality and with such a great story," said Simon Shaw, Sotheby's head of Impressionist and Modern Art. "It's truly unique."

The 9.5 inch-high carving, which has not been seen in public since 1961, was given as a gift to then 10-year old Jeanne Fournier, the daughter of French art critic and collector Jean Dolent.

Additional Info

back to top