Paul Gauguin. The Moon and the Earth. 1893

Paul Gauguin

The Moon and the Earth


Oil on burlap
45 x 24 1/2" (114.3 x 62.2 cm)
Lillie P. Bliss Collection
Object number
Painting and Sculpture
This work is not on view.
Paul Gauguin has 34 works online.
There are 2,314 paintings online.

The Moon and the Earth is Gauguin's depiction of an ancient Polynesian myth, in which Hina, the female spirit of the Moon, implores Fatou, the male spirit of the Earth, to grant humans eternal life. It is a request Fatou resolutely denies. Gauguin's depiction of Hina and Fatou—marked by a great disparity in the figure's size, scale, and coloration—seems to reflect their ancient quarrel. In the foreground, Hinas nude figure is in full view, while Fatou, rendered from the chest up, looms larger than life in the background. But there is no middle ground; the distance between them appears impassable.

Gallery label from

This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
Edgar Degas, Paris. Gift and/or exchange from Gauguin, after Gauguin's exhibition at Durand-Ruel's gallery in Paris, November 1893. c. 1893 - 1918
Sold at auction, Edgar Degas Collection Sale I, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, March 26-27, 1918
Paul Rosenberg, Paris. Purchased at Degas sale. 1918 - ?
[Marius de Zayas, New York]
Stephan Bourgeois, New York. [Purchased from Paul Rosenberg]
Lillie P. Bliss (1864-1931), New York. Purchased from Bourgeois Galleries, 1918 - 1931
Lillie P. Bliss Estate. 1931 - 1934
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Lillie P. Bliss Collection, 1934

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