Talk #49, 9/9/09

Paul Gauguin’s Five Parisian Ladies

John Asmus

Paul Gauguin’s Five Parisian Ladies

The Art Nouveau movement traces its earliest stirrings to the middle of the 19th Century and several of that era’s well-known impressionist painters. In the year 1895 Alfons Mucha’s Sarah Bernhardt poster burst upon the Paris theater scene and this Art Nouveau sensation captured the public imagination. A few months earlier in Brittany, Paul Gauguin had been composing female images for Tiffany until he became bedridden in the aftermath of a fistfight with three sailors. During the two-month convalescence Gauguin’s model, “Annah la Javanaise”, stole his belongings in order to raise money through sales in Paris. We have performed digital computer image analyses of surviving items by Mucha and Gauguin revealing that one of Gauguin’s artworks fell into Mucha’s hands and was photographically copied. Thus, Mucha’s famous Gismonda poster for the Bernhardt performance in the Sardou play had been plagiarized and Gauguin, instead, was the actual source of the Art Nouveau phenomenon.


The following is a link to the full presentation (ppt format).