DescriptionPaul Gauguin. Autograph Manuscript.
Thirteen pages in French, 8" x 12.25", n.p., [circa 1890?]. Three pages contain drawings and lists of figures. Ten pages contain what appears to be a draft, much of which appears jumbled and contradictory. It is presented here in English translation.
"Chapter - The Losers
On the animal side - I talked with my godmother on this topic: men make love like dogs. If ever there was an animal coitus, it is certainly the contemporary case both in marriage and prostitution because in both cases love is absent (as far as feelings go) and nine times out of ten in the conjugal bed a night of love ends with the husband needing to make a small gift. The animal does not think while man's coitus is almost entirely calculated. My mother-in-law admitted that though she loves her husband dearly, coitus with him is a source of disgust and suffering. A different kind of prostitution, and how animalistic and brutal an act she carries out with her husband.
You might think my mother-in-law is out of the ordinary - on the contrary. So many women do the same especially when they do not love their husbands. But the mores are good because they are legal!!
Something else - should a man, during his most useful and productive period of life, render himself unproductive to raise his child who will do the same, or should the child be sacrificed in order that later on he do the same and sacrifice his child so that he may be productive? I lean toward the latter.
In the first case, one makes a useless sacrifice because a child's well-being is not tied to maternal attention and because his young age represents about a third of his existence, not to mention during that third there is a whole period of growth that is devoid of moral suffering - [illegible] the other two thirds which do not yield anything productive for nature. While in the second case the child is less tended to, well-dressed etc., things which matter little to him and when he is 20 years old in the midst of his full enjoyment of life and goes to work in the morning without any consideration for his child. He enjoys life and works uselessly.
A day will come when education is uniform for everyone, children rich and poor. As long as the nation remains unable to raise its future thinkers in the spirit of freedom, of work, without anything spent on parents, this nation will be a rotten and imbalanced one, a poor one.
With all that I have written, it is crucial to distinguish two questions.
The question of evil and the question of how to address it.
There is a certain fact, that every day people's needs become more costly without an increase in salaries. The average employee between 20 and 30 years old earns 2,400 yearly and in fact that number is an overestimate. Place this average within a marriage; the married couple must have children, let us say two only. Housing, food, and clothing for 2,400 - what a bitter decision. Examine the situation of this married couple; one day, they have to steal from the boss or be kicked out of their lodging; sell his wife or turn a blind eye to her activities outside the home. The conclusion is that they must not marry. I am for it - but then a considerable chunk of the nation will be single. For whom will marriage be, then? For the class that is sure of its fortune, the moneyed aristocracy. What a curious democratic nation that is. If a misfortune befalls a rich married man (misfortunes happen so quickly and who is certain to be rich forever), there goes an entire family to the wind, young women used to luxury becoming prey to prostitution because they no longer have the right to marry - let them remain single, then - I am fine with everyone remaining single, devoted to masturbation, the end would come around quickly. Everyone senses evil and suffers it but no one wants to accept anything else.
A rich man can pay for prostitutes, a woman who he then casts aside, an employee who can obtain food only through these means - what a democratic institution. And for whom does the proletariat foot the bill, a superior? No, for an intellectual inferior (speaking in general). What a democratic institution! O, man, when will you cease to be a butler?
Losers - there is a word uttered frequently and with contempt usually by the affluent bourgeois. Where are these losers, what are they, and what role do they have in society - they are spread out but they are mainly in the proletariat. What are they, generally seekers that that lose until they find. The role they play in this world is simple, they are a good omen for social climbers, they serve humanity for their suffering and their discoveries. Yes, sirs, the losers you cover with contempt serve as your dupes and do your dirty work. Before we study them thoroughly let us examine those that are not losers.
Allegedly well-behaved since childhood, they feel neither intelligent enough nor bold enough to take risks; they proceed gingerly, spend 40 years accepting and dealing with the whims of their hierarchical superiors and manage to achieve modest material comforts and a scrupulous but idiotic offspring. As merchants they risk no capital and follow patiently and obediently the course of their career. If the store fails they become losers for a while but always get back up. Their main intelligence and merit is that they abide by all that is accepted, they stay on the bandwagon religiously. A rolling stone gathers no moss, and so they do not move - I forgot to mention that all these people vote regularly and almost always in a contrarian fashion. Their system of opposition is to pick those who oppose.
Born rich, they place their funds as private income [non-taxable?], say nothing about when they place it in Panama, and live innocently from those funds. Let us leave it at that.
Moving on to the losers - as children they usually do poorly in school because their wild imaginations lead to disagreements with their teachers, or because they study topics that are not in the official curriculum. Their mothers do not go talk to the proctors to extort an acceptance with dodgy smiles.
At 20 years old if they have money they jump into the dynamic world of industries looking for renewal. With lofty ideas and a desire to play the lead role, they do not do what everyone else does and usually fail. They are losers.
Or in self-employed careers, they find themselves in opposition to the crowd and end up with the entire pack of rabid jealous dogs at their heels - losers.
Even more so without wealth.
As artists they want to be independent (that is the true aim of an artist), following no school, not sacrificing the golden calf, in a word not prostituting themselves to the public. Generally in poverty, they cannot raise their children if they have them. Overboard with the losers. As inventors they are losers until they succeed but that does not come with a jackpot. Seekers, philosophers, thinkers, you will not earn money with that. You are losers, be damned.
All losers - and of all kinds. They bring resources to the world, are often martyrs, and can scarcely be accused of hoarding [and/or monopolizing?]. So the best portion of the nation is miserable and despised. Burned Galileo was a loser. Jesus Christ dead on the cross is a loser. For those that are not Jesus and Galileo it is possible to be a loser at the bottom of the rung but I think they are worthy of interest and esteem. And all those who commit suicide out of misery and desperation that their work is not rewarded and label themselves losers, what esteem I have for them. Noble spirits that may be accused of weakness but how much energy they must have deployed before getting to the point of no return - and how good their intentions during their lives. Man will die, but his work will remain: good works will be glorified, poor ones damned. The man who does nothing is hardly wrong.
Children and the elderly safe from need
Funds for this work! Where to find them - so much money misused - what do you make of the colonies where the hands are lacking for cultural life - a useful instruction and education for all, at the expense of the state. Starting at a certain age, education suitable to the aptitudes of boys and girls, instruction on different trades, arts, etc.
Who will pay for this? 1) An income-proportional tax
Loan companies in the first place, Banque de France and others. [added in margin: railroad companies and bus monopolies and others]. Tax on their capital and on their revenues. A difficult question but that can be solved with good will. But do not touch the capital, he commands and we should not offend him? Nonsense. He will cry about it for a year and then will not think of it again.
2) A percentage of each state-sponsored loan goes to the education coffers. If we implement this no one would have anything to say since it is to everyone's benefit - spending on one side, benefit on the other.
Numerous methods can be proposed to lead this endeavor to a satisfying conclusion; [illegible] political and to resolve the question. And this question can be solved with good will?
Once the question is resolved, the child that the state asks for is no longer lacking and this child has the advantage over us today that he was born in good conditions, that he will be raised for the common future and with better feelings toward society. Certain to find employment either [illegible] consistent with his aptitudes, he will possess a confidence that will make him masculine. Certain in his ability to have children without needing to worry about their lot, I guarantee he will have them and have them young, in his prime and without a thought, with love which will make him better. The woman, certain to find a companion or many in harmony with her, certain not to treated like merchandise, will lose the instinct for prostitution as well as her state of neediness. Once she is a mother she will not see in her daughter a future prostitute and will not raise her to feel hatred toward men - all these things are moral and good just like your legal marriage.
What confuses me is that today everyone yearns for this state of affairs, yearn for the negation of marriage but they simply do not dare. This is understandable since they would have to fight the resulting prejudice - kill prejudice, organize the well-being of the child, and the world will cry out en masse in delight.
We whisper what we dare not say out loud. We act in secret when we dare not act out in the open. Take the bull by the horns?
You obtain beautiful, eternal coitus, in other words the sort between two free beings who choose each other following the course of nature, in the name of common well-being.
Art, poetry, beautiful religion that are all love. Eternal passions that create beautiful things. We will no longer call marriage the legal happiness but legal unhappiness. Indissoluble and the source of prostitution.
To force men as well as women not to love and not to express their love in/through coitus is just as abhorrent to nature as forcing people not to eat every day. Both are damaging and a nature that ends up there will inevitably become like Sodom and Gomorrah. Look at the state of things today, Lesbos receives so many new inhabitants. My word, women are right since we prevent them from following males.
Moralists of today, examine your conscience, can any of you say you are a virgin (any one)?
By what right do you feel justified to impose virginity on women? If you think you have the right, you will never be free. A sad anomaly, on one hand; women who are not made for men go to men through marriage and those that are made for it get there through prostitution. Forced coitus, another disgust and enslavement.
Rest assured, you have thrown a sense of taste to woman and she has fetched it well and since she has a better sense of freedom than men she revolts every day against the state of things. Since she has a nobility, nobility of beauty, she can struggle against nobility of money and capture it in her net.
But once again its war and peace would be better for both parties, for the nation, for humanity in fact as well as for the sake of morality.
...(Please see the complete description at HA.com).
Bas-relief - this word is so simple, so explicit in itself, and in my opinion full of mystery. It is easy to say a relief with little elevation and modern sculptors seem to me to have forgotten about all traditions on this subject. Some thought it was a section of figures and others thought it was a big reduction in relief compared to nature. Same goes for a painter who sees in crowds a diminution of panorama with the proportional scale. In fact it is none of that and the issue is more complex than that, full of ruse and finesse and good taste. If there is abstract art, it is surely that one, and it derives directly from imagination. The art of bas relief is actually more [illegible] to drawing than to high relief which, in a pinch, can settle for the reliefs that correspond exactly to nature. [Illegible] the sensation of a raised perspective on a flat surface requires an equivalent. It is up to you to choose this equivalent, just as with the vanishing points of the short cuts [?]. Like a drawing.
The Assyrians are masters in this art....
It is up to the artist to find the equivalent in harmony with himself and which will determine the personality, a preoccupation that puts off all sculptors today.
Sculptors only declare their individuality through different aims and the literary applications of their subjects. Not a single one has his own style, that is, a particular method of expressing their thoughts. I think the greatest fault lies with the exact study of nature rather than [illegible] sculptural shapes, abstract combinations and seeking equivalents.
Each material requires its own kind of formation, partially dictated by the character of the material itself. The uniform formation using clay is reproduced in marble, bronze, or others. No, sirs, that is not where truth lies. Blond marble has a different character than brown bronze. Your figures must be in harmony with the material you are using. And definitely do not touch the bas relief, that enigmatic sculpture. You hear nothing - nothing! - that will make it live anew.
Let us examine an Egyptian figure, a simple head. The head is clearly contoured against the sky thanks to its harmonious lines and nothing takes the eyes away from the contour. There are no holes at the ears, eyes, or nose - the whole interior, blond. Why, then, make a nose, an imbecile once asked me. Because in all ways the figure must be seen and from all perspectives it is the same thing, the silhouette is detached against the background, purely symbolically.
The profile view is the same thing. The Egyptians did not tell us why they made sculptures this way and some would say any explanation would therefore be erroneous. But since there must be a reason I suggest searching for the simplest and most logical one. The reason I suggest meets these criteria though I am open to accepting another if someone can show that mine is mistaken.
The silhouettes are gently sloping and/or have curving lines and give a blonde sensation and broken lines a brown sensation, they preserved the same interior sensation by not making any holes, always to preserve harmony.
You make a nude covered with a cloth. In reality a nude is a nude and a cloth is a cloth. Your statue is different from reality and the nude and cloth are the same material. In our decadent times, most sculptors have practitioners of marble make silk that looks like real silk, and so on - what a sculpture, my God!
Literature - Let us split that word up into two parts.
When painters transpose written works on their canvases, we call it grande peinture. We might as well say that literature is the thinker and painting is the typewriting machine. Critics always find the painting inferior regardless of its pictorial qualities. Painters of history are in the same boat. Painters must be an unimaginative bunch that they cannot come up with their own stories. I say that painters should be painters, not historians. Littérateurs should be just littérateurs, inventors of stories. Only poets must exist in all the arts. Literary poets express their thoughts with all the beauty of their language. Painting poets express, or rather suggest, their thoughts through lines and colors, their pictorial language. [illegible]. Let us keep each of them separate, on their own terrain.
Literary - in terms of painting, I mean by this term everything that is explanatory. So, in a landscape painting the explanation of a tree, a house, etc. makes up the literary part of the painting. The other pictorial aspect is provided by the lines, colors. That is the truest part of this art, its essence.
The more mysterious that part is, the more poetic and individual is each person's sensation of the painting.
Earlier I mentioned [illegible] and music. That is how painting and music are sisters; literature is a stranger. Let us leave her alone. With that established let's examine painting today in 1890 - Reading Literature
Great period of anecdotal journalism. Many painters are following that lead. Newlyweds before and after the ball, visits to the photographers, adulterous dramas, etc...the novels of George [illegible], behind the wings at the theater, in short the entire newspaper from politics to the salon is found in the salon. The season for sea swims, visits aboard yachts, swimming holes, it is all there. Landscape art section, literary art section, panoramas of all the seigniorial castles, others that are more bourgeois, country houses all over France, an overview of holiday-making.
A critic made the observation that I scorn all trompe-l'oeil even those of light - yes, Mr. Critic, trompe-l'oeil was one of the most literary parts of painting.
A group of young people, basing themselves on experience, the most brilliant of them came to explain to us the trompe-l'oeil of light. We will congratulate them because any honest worker is worthy of congratulations but we can tell that with all their light they are sinking further into darkness and will not find illumination on great art. Precision does not lead to divine poetry - mystery.
My estimation is that there must be a strong reaction and that in fact it is close at hand, a reaction in the opposite direction. No more literature or literary in painting - we say art for art, I say painting for painting. Beautiful harmonies that suggest sensations - pictorial poetry, etc...
Young people who have [illegible] all the painting of our time have felt the need to react. Like all seekers they make mistakes often but are in my opinion on the right track to a beautiful future for painting. This return to thought is too rich not to tread prudently and with many disappointments, too fertile not to be an infinite journey to Nirvana, that is, the perfect state. I think no matter how skilled the painter, everything that is not in this domain I speak of is backed into a corner and finished.
(Impressionism) Its beginning, its usefulness, and its end.
All acts of excess bear out a contrary tendency.
Because the Ecole des Beaux-Arts had monopolized painting, the lively youth felt a need to rebel against that authority and inevitably with its sense of freedom would seek a way to exhibit their work in an unofficial venue. In order to distinguish themselves they had to exhibit novel art in a novel way. The great big painting is replaced with little [illegible]. The study carried out in the open, in the wind replaces the clean studio study. The Beaux-Arts school claimed to restrict what was deemed beautiful and the youth then wishes to extend the boundaries to all of nature's beauty. The school had standardized the means of expression so the youth diversifies it in many ways to call out the attitude of the exhibitors. Official painting had darkened colors in order to hedge its bets. [Illegible] agreeable through the inanity and the indecision of color. They threw themselves in the light in search of beautiful colors and harmonious lines. All these revolutionary efforts bore an independent layer, hardworking and talented, forcing personalities to come out of the [illegible] where they had been imprisoned.
A useful period if ever there was one, transitory renewal it is true, but a renewal nonetheless. The eyes cleared up [illegible], routine has disappeared."
Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) was one of the most significant French Post-Impressionist painters. Breaking away from the Impressionist style, he pioneered a new form of painting referred to Symbolism. In the early 1890s, he began traveling regularly to the South Pacific, where his art was strongly influenced by the native arts of Africa, Asia, and French Polynesia.
A fascinating manuscript with several drawings, written in 1890, of ruminations of Gauguin on various subjects, including sex, perceived losers in society, bas-relief, and Impressionism.
Condition: Pages that were once held together is a signature are now separated; overall good.
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