Paul Gauguin. Still Life with Three Puppies. 1888
Paul Gauguin

Still Life with Three Puppies

1888
On view
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 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

Additional text

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

Provenance Research Project
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

Pictured above: Vasily Kandinsky. Panel for Edwin R. Campbell No. 2 (detail). 1914. Oil on canvas, 64 1/8 x 48 3/8" (162.6 x 122.7 cm). Nelson A. Rockefeller Fund (by exchange). © 2009 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

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Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

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

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource