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Paul Gauguin
Te faruru
Coloured monotype printed on japan paper
Bought with the help of The Art Fund, 2000

Made in Brittany in the summer of 1894, when Gauguin was laid up in bed after breaking his leg in a brawl with some sailors. Restricted from painting, he spent his time making woodcuts and coloured monotypes. This particular kind of monotype is better described by the French term dessein empreinte ('printed' or 'transfer drawing'). It was made by laying a piece of wet paper over a drawing in watercolour and gouache (and sometimes pastel), and then rubbing the back of the paper with a spoon so that it was impressed with a reverse image of the drawing (with vertical striations caused by the rubbing process). He made at least one other monotype of essentially the same composition, which was probably printed from a different watercolour. The soft and diffuse painterly effect of the 'watercolour monotype' influenced the printing of Gauguin's woodcuts at this time. This image is related to a similar scene in his woodcut of the same title made in 1893-4 for the book project Noa Noa ('Fragrance') relating the experience of his visit to Tahiti (1891-3), which continued to dominate his thoughts. The Polynesian phrase used for the title Te faruru - 'Here one makes love' - was inscribed above the entrance to Gauguin's studio apartment in Paris. This was the first print by Gauguin to enter the Museum's collection.


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