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The concept of vision in Paul Gauguin’s Vision après le sermon Viirlaid, Helle Kaja 1979

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THE CONCEPT OF VISION IN PAUL GAUGUIN'S VISION APRES LE SERMON by HELLE KAJA VIIRLAID B.A., University of Toronto, 1973 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Fine Arts We accept, t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1979 © Helle Kaja V i i r l a i d , 1979 I n p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f t h e r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r a n a d v a n c e d d e g r e e a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e t h a t t h e L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e a n d s t u d y . I f u r t h e r a g r e e t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by t h e Head o f my D e p a r t m e n t o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l n o t be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . D e p a r t m e n t nf Fine Arts  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a 2075 W e s b r o o k P l a c e V a n c o u v e r , C a n a d a V6T 1W5 20 A p r i l 1979 i i THE CONCEPT OF VISION IN PAUL GAUGUIN'S, VISION APRES LE SERMON  Abstract The c e n t r a l concern of t h i s thesis i s the concept of v i s i o n as subject and a r t i s t i c mode as a means of comprehending Paul Gauguin's V i s i o n apres l e sermon of 1888. The painting i n i t s s t y l e and imagery i s argued to be a r e f l e c t i o n of Gauguin's b e l i e f s and aims at the time of, i t s execution, show-ing continuity i n h i s growth and development of a vi s i o n a r y approach to a r t . The vi s i o n a r y aspects of the painting are presented as being most s i g n i f i c a n t in revealing the nature and meaning of V i s i o n apres le sermon and pl a c i n g the work into the context of i t s time. The evolution and development of the a r t i s t ' s i n t e r e s t s and concerns up to and i n c l u d i n g 1888 are examined to demonstrate the growth of his v i s i o n a r y s t y l e with t h i s work discussed as "exemplar of h i s manner of expression. Gauguin's own view of himself as seer and s p i r i t u a l leader i s explored i n r e l a t i o n s h i p to the l a t e nineteenth century a t t i t u d e of the a r t i s t as visionary, to suggest that he was very much a product of h i s time. The nineteenth century concept of dream or v i s i o n as the a r t i s t ' s own r e a l i t y i s focused upon to suggest that Gauguin's Vision apres le sermon r e f l e c t s 'S ' the a r t i s t ' s perception of his personal environment. The iconographic s i g n i f i c a n c e of the various elements i n the painting are assessed to show how Gauguin's att i t u d e s were manifested through h i s use of imagery i n t h i s work - a painting which was a culminating statement i n h i s a r t i s t i c development and which c l e a r l y r e f l e c t e d h i s concerns about l i f e and art at the time. TABLE OF CONTENTS L i s t of Plates . . . L i s t of Charts Acknowledgements : I. CHAPTER ONE: The Thesis i n Perspective A. Introduction to Paul Gauguin's V i s i o n apres le sermon B. A Review of L i t e r a t u r e Relevant to Vi s i o n apres l e sermon . C. Purposes of the Present Thesis D. General Content and Methodology of the Thesis: 1. The Growth and Development of Gauguin's Visionary Style - An Outline of Chapter Two . . 2. The General Iconography of Vision apres le sermon - An Outline of Chapter Three 3. Gauguin's Intentions i n His Use of Imagery i n Vi s i o n apres l e sermon - An Outline of Chapter Four E. L i t e r a t u r e and References Cited i n the Thesis . . . . F. V i s u a l Description., of V i s i o n apres l e sermon  G. Elements Found i n V i s i o n apres l e sermon as Part of Gauguin's Repertoire of Motifs P r i o r to and Including 1888 I I . CHAPTER TWO: The Growth and Development of Gauguin's  Visionary Style A. Gauguin's Depiction of V i s i o n i n V i s i o n apres l e sermon  B. Gauguin's A r t i s t i c Interests and Concerns and Their S t y l i s t i c Consequences: 1. Gauguin as an E c l e c t i c : His Early Interest i n and C o l l e c t i o n of Contemporary Art of the Time as i t Later A f f e c t s His Style . . . . 2. The Appeal of the Orient and the Japanese I n f l u -ence on Gauguin's Art .., 3. Gauguin's Quest for P r i m i t i v e Cultures and L i f e -Styles i n Martinique and Brittany 4. Gauguin's A t t r a c t i o n to Delacroix's Expressive Use of Line and Colour i i i PAGE v i v i i v i i i 1 2 9 11 12 15 16 17 21 24 27 29 37 43 i v PAGE 5. Gauguin's wish to "Paint Like Children" 46 6. Gauguin's Personal Interpretation of Nature from Memory as It A f f e c t s His Art 48 7. Intentional Mystery and Ambiguity i n Gauguin's Work . . 49 8. Gauguin's Meditative and Contemplative Approach to Art 51 C. V i s i o n apres l e sermon as an Exemplar of Gauguin's A r t i s t i c Concerns 56 I I I . CHAPTER THREE: The General Iconography of V i s i o n apres  l e sermon A. Gauguin's Depiction of the Same Subject p r i o r to 1888 . . . 63 B. Wrestling as a Metaphor i n Gauguin's Own L i f e 66 C. Gauguin as A r t i s t i c and S p i r i t u a l Leader i n His Own Community 71 D. The Concept of Painter as Poet 76 E. Poet as Visionary 78 F. The Dream as a Personal V i s i o n of R e a l i t y 80 G. The Religious S i g n i f i c a n c e of Art i n Gauguin's Time . . . . 86 H. Gauguin's Awareness of Contemporary Thought 90 I. Albert Aurier's A r t i c l e - "Le Symbolisme en peinture -Paul Gauguin, 1891" 93 J. Gauguin's Exposure to and Interest i n Re l i g i o n 112 IV. CHAPTER FOUR: Gauguin's Intentions i n His Use of Imagery i n  V i s i o n apres l e sermon A. P a r a l l e l s Between Gauguin and the Character of Jacob . . . 117 B. Gauguin as P r i e s t i n V i s i o n apres l e sermon 119 C. Interpretation of the Composition of V i s i o n apres l e sermon 1. The Theater-like Arrangement of the Painting 121 2. Functions of the Tree 123 D. The Importance of the Open-Eyed Figure at the Centre of V i s i o n apres l e sermon 124 E. Conclusion 128 V. SUMMARY 131 VI. LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS USED IN FOOTNOTES 134 VII. FOOTNOTES 135 V PAGE VIII. BIBLIOGRAPHY 226 IX. APPENDIX: CHARTS 235 X. PLATES: 1. V i s i o n apres l e sermon 246 2. D e t a i l of wrestlers 247 3. D e t a i l of p r i e s t 248 4. D e t a i l of open-eyed figure 249 v i LIST OF PLATES PLATE .1. V i s i o n apres le sermon. 2. D e t a i l of wrestlers; i i i V i s i o n apres l e sermon. 3. D e t a i l of p r i e s t i n V i s i o n apres l e sermon. 4. D e t a i l of middle, open-eyed figure i n Vision apres l e sermon. PAGE 246 247 248 249 v i i LIST OF CHARTS: MOTIFS APPEARING IN GAUGUIN'S PAINTINGS PRIOR TO AND INCLUDING 1888 PAGE Chart I : Women i n Breton Costume 235 Chart II : Women i n Groups: Before B r i t t a n y , and 236 Women i n Martinique Chart I II : Women i n Attitudes of Prayer or Meditation 237 Chart IV : Cows 238 Chart V : Single Animal with or without Figure(s) 239 Chart VI : Isolated Tree 240 Chart VII : Treatment of Water and Wrestling Figures 241 Chart VIII: Diagonal Compositional Device: Line from 242 Lower l e f t to Upper Right Chart IX : Figures: Close-up and Cut-off 243 Chart X : View from Above 244 Chart XI : "Peering over the Shoulder" Views 245 v i i i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would l i k e to extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the several people who shared t h e i r valuable time and energy i n helping me to complete this t h e s i s . I f e e l e s p e c i a l l y indebted to the following i n d i v i d u a l s who made the work possi b l e : George Rosenberg was instrumental i n guiding and aiding me during the i n i t i a l stages of the t h e s i s . Serge Guilbaut undertook the task of helping me to complete the study and, together with David Solkin, o f f e r e d invaluable c r i t i c i s m and commentary. I am deeply g r a t e f u l to my family who gave me constant encouragement throughout: "m'inu Memmeke, Taadike, Antsuke, a i t a h T e i l e , a l a t i ! " And f i n a l l y - to Ken - I owe a very s p e c i a l thanks f o r h i s u n f a i l i n g support and assistance as we l l as h i s c a r e f u l e d i t i n g of the whole. 1. CHAPTER ONE: THE THESIS IN PERSPECTIVE A. Introduction to Paul Gauguin's Vision apres l e sermon The painting, Vis i o n apres l e sermon, executed i n 1888 by Paul Gauguin, has been acknowledged by a r t i s t s and c r i t i c s a l i k e as one of his major works. In spite of the s i g n i f i c a n c e attached to the painting, the meaning behind t h i s , Gauguin's rendering of a v i s i o n of Jacob wrestling with an angel, remains puzzling and obscure. Inherent i n the mystery behind the work i s Gauguin's choice of the subject of a v i s i o n as h i s veh i c l e of expression. The thesis w i l l focus on the concept of v i s i o n as a key to understanding the painting and as a means of c l a r i f y i n g the more mystifying elements of Vi s i o n apres l e sermon. It i s the author's inte n t i o n to deal with the concept of v i s i o n both as subject and as a r t i s t i c mode i n Paul Gauguin's art with p a r t i c u l a r attention to La Vision apres l e sermon or La Lutte de Jacob avec l'ange (Vision a f t e r the Sermon - Jacob Wrestling with the Angel).''" The work depicts a group of twelve Breton women and a p r i e s t i n an out-2 door s e t t i n g , witnessing the event of Jacob wrestling with the angel. The b i b l i c a l story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel may be interpreted as a test set by God for Jacob to prove h i s s p i r i t u a l strength and h i s r i g h t to become 3 p a t r i a r c h . When Jacob p r e v a i l s i n the struggle, the Angel blesses him: "Your name s h a l l no more be c a l l e d Jacob, but I s r a e l , f o r you have s t r i v e n 4 with God and with men and have p r e v a i l e d " (Gen. XXXII, v. 28). I s r a e l , which became the designation of a people, was granted to him by God as a s p e c i a l d i s t i n c t i o n a f t e r Jacob had demonstrated h i s f o r t i t u d e and gained a victory."* Gauguin's own description of the painting suggests that a sermon-was delivered a f t e r which the people experienced a v i s i o n of the wrestling match: 2. ... Pour moi, dans ce tableau l e paysage et l a l u t t e n'existent que dans 1'imagination des gens en p r i e r e par s u i t e du sermon c'est pourquoi i l y a contraste entre les gens nature et l a l u t t e dans son paysage non nature et dispropor-tionnee. 6 The painting was executed at Pont-Aven i n B r i t t a n y , France, between August and September, 1888, where Gauguin had been r e s i d i n g since February.^ Two years p r i o r to t h i s , Gauguin had l i v e d i n Brittany from the end of June, g 1886, u n t i l November of that year. From Gauguin's September 1888 d e s c r i p t i o n of the painting to Vincent van Gogh, one can c l e a r l y ascertain that by t h i s time he had completed the work: "Je viens de f a i r e un tableau r e l i g i e u x tres 9 mal f a i t mais qui m'a interesse a f a i r e et qui me p l a i t . " He had offered i t to a church by Pont-Aven but i t had been refused: "Je voulais l e donner a l ' e g l i s e de Pont-Aven, naturellement on n'en veut pas.""^ Gauguin wrote to Emile Schuffenecker, October 8, 1888, saying that he was sending the painting to Theo van Gogh: " J ' a i f a i t pour une e g l i s e un tableau naturellement i l a ete refuse, aussi j e l e renvoie a Van Gogh. The painting was l a t e r shown i n Brussels at the s i x t h e x h i b i t i o n of Les XX i n February and March 1889; the t i t l e V ision du serm6ri^appea:r,fed i n . 12 the e x h i b i t i o n catalogue. In an a r t i c l e , "Le Salon des XX a B r u x e l l e s , " of the March 3, 1889, issue of La Cravache, i t was b r i e f l y but favourably; 13 reviewed by the c r i t i c Octave Maus. A laudatory a r t i c l e , "Le Symbolisme en peinture-Paul Gauguin," by Albert Aurier, i n which V i s i o n apres le sermon was discussed at considerable length, appears i n the March 1891 Mercure de France. B. A Review of E x i s t i n g L i t e r a t u r e S p e c i f i c a l l y Relevant to V i s i o n apres  l e sermon In viewing the l i t e r a t u r e pertaining to Vision apres le sermon, one immediately recognizes that the majority of c r i t i c s consider t h i s p a i n t i n g to 3. be one of Gauguin's most important works. For John Rewald i t represents "the epitome of [Gauguin's] new s t y l e " . ^ Robert Goldwater believes that the canvas i s the "fir<st complete r e s u l t " of "synthetism," "a r e l i g i o u s painting 16 conceived and executed with the f a i t h of a convert to a new a r t i s t i c credo". Wladyslawa Jaworska asserts that the painting marks a turning point i n Gauguin's s t y l e : There i s no doubt at a l l that Gauguin, from the moment he f i n i s h e d V i s i o n a f t e r the Sermon, abandoned the Divisionism that Pissarro had taught him, and also painting from nature. Gauguin's future develop-ment was determined by Vi s i o n a f t e r the Sermon. 17 Marc R o s k i l l , on the other hand, i s o l a t e s the work i n the a r t i s t ' s s t y l i s t i c development, maintaining that i t "stands out as exceptional i n Gauguin's output of 1888. I t i s exceptional i n structure, i n composition and 18 i n i t s basic experimentalism." Although the above c r i t i c s r e a l i z e that the work i s a c l i m a c t i c one i n Gauguin's oeuvre, they disagree about how to place i t i n h i s a r t i s t i c development. This disagreement may be p a r t l y due to the fa c t that no one has adequately discussed the raison d'etre of Vi s i o n apres l e sermon, or how i n fact i t came to be painted. The question of Emile Bernard's influence has been exhaustively debated. Many c r i t i c s convincingly discuss Bernard's Bretonnes dans un pre (1888) acting 19 as a s t y l i s t i c c a t a l y s t for the execution of Vi s i o n apres l e sermon. Why Bernard's views might have been conducive to Gauguin's outlook has not been adequately considered, but w i l l be discussed i n the present paper, i n order to reveal that many of the ideas shared by Bernard with Gauguin were not new to the l a t t e r . .. Much has also been written about the influence of Japanese woodblock p r i n t s on Gauguin's rendering of Vi s i o n apres l e sermon. The general s t y l i s t i c influence of Japanese p r i n t s has been discussed and the f l a t t e n i n g and z 4. o u t l i n i n g of forms, the.use of bright colours, and the bird's-eye view are a l l 20 accepted as having influenced Gauguin's a r t . S p e c i f i c a l l y , the p r i n t s of wrestlers i n Hokusai's Mangwa have often been c i t e d as possible prototypes f o r 21 the figures of Jacob and the Angel. Why these p r i n t s might have appealed to Gauguin and why he may have been a t t r a c t e d to th i s kind of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of nature has not yet been explored. The present thesis w i l l discuss the reasons f o r Gauguin's i n t e r e s t i n Japanese p r i n t s and the Orient as they contribute to the growth of his vi s i o n a r y s t y l e . Although many authors have touched on the influence of the ph y s i c a l environment of Brittany where Vi s i o n apres l e sermon was painted, only Mathew Herban III has considered the matter at length, i n his recent a r t i c l e "The Origin of Paul Gauguin's Vision a f t e r the Sermon: Jacob Wrestling with the 22 Angel (1888)". That the Breton environment as a whole, i t s customs, r e l i g i o u s f e s t i v a l s or pardons, and su p e r s t i t i o n s , was an important influence on Gauguin's rendering of Vision apres l e sermon i s one of the ce n t r a l argu-ments of the present t h e s i s . Herban on the other hand argues that Vis i o n apres l e sermon records the events of only one p a r t i c u l a r r e l i g i o u s f e s t i v a l , the 23 Pardon of St. Nicodemus. This f e s t i v a l occurred on the fourth and f i f t h of August, 1888, at the Chapel of St. Nicodemus located "two kilometers from the small r a i l r o a d town of St. Nicholas-des-Eaux, i n a part of Brittany c a l l e d 24 Morbihan. 1 As V. Jirat-Wasiutynski has pointed out, St. Nicholas-des-Eaux 25 i s i n a remote l o c a t i o n 120 kilometers from Pont-Aven. I t would have been economically impractical and thus u n l i k e l y that Gauguin t r a v e l l e d such a 26 distance to attend t h i s f e s t i v a l . I f , however, as Herban argues, Gauguin had been at the chapel of St. Nicodemus on August 5, 1888 - and while i t i s true that the F e s t i v a l or Pardon of St. Nicodemus always f a l l s on the f i r s t Saturday and Sunday i n August 5. and that the f i r s t Sunday i n August f e l l on August f i f t h i n 1888 - i t i s un l i k e l y that Genesis 32: 22-31, the story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel, 27 was "one of the nine lessons" appointed for that day. Herban bases h i s argument on one c i t a t i o n from the 1952 book of Common Prayers, psalms and 28 lessons for the C h r i s t i a n year based on the Sarum t r a d i t i o n . In l i g h t of information obtained from William Adams, Vancouver School of Theology, however, the readings i n 1888 might have been d i f f e r e n t . Readings vary from time to time and what i s cur r e n t l y the reading on a given day i s u n l i k e l y to have 29 been the reading on the same day i n , for example, 1888. Moreover, i t i s questionable whether the "breviary ... of the C e l t i c Church, preserved today i n the l i t u r g i c a l calendar of the Sarum t r a d i t i o n , " from which Herban draws 30 his information, was even being used i n Brittany when Gauguin was there. P i e r i e Taurze, the curd i n Pont-Aven for th i r t e e n years, claims that i n Gauguin's time the Brevarium Romanum was used: ...depuis l e Concile de Trente, l e b r e v i a i r e du clerge breton a £t£ l e B r e v i a i r e Romain et s ' i l y a question de l a l u t t e de Jacob avec L'Ange, i l s'agissait surement du texte c i t a t i o n de l a Vulgate en l a t i n . 31 Several a d d i t i o n a l f a c t s presented i n Herban's a r t i c l e about the Pardon of Nicodemus need c l a r i f i c a t i o n . Throughout his a r t i c l e Herban makes note of events that occur during t h i s p a r t i c u l a r Pardon, concluding that "the events that stimulated Gauguin's imagination l i v e again before our eyes and i n our imaginations thanks to our knowledge of the Pardon of St. Nicodemus," thus giving the strong impression that the information imparted has been s p e c i f i -32 c a l l y about the Pardon of St. Nicodemus. Yet many of these events are common to most pardons. Informing the reader that "on Sunday afternoon, the Pardon continued with wrestling matches," Herban immediately follows t h i s with a quote from Le Braz's Au Pays des Pardons, giving a des c r i p t i o n which exactly f i t s that of Gauguin's painting - where the onlookers are women (with the exception of the p r i e s t ) seated on the surrounding slopes above the ac t i o n : "Les gars se defient a l a l u t t e ... sous les yeux de f i l l e s sagement assises sur le s 33 talus environnents, applaudissements des v i e i l l a r d s . " Le Braz, however, i s not wr i t i n g about a p a r t i c u l a r Sunday afternoon or a p a r t i c u l a r pardon, but giving a general introduction about pardon a c t i v i t i e s . Herban's use of th i s passage i n support of his argument i s thus apparently without b a s i s . Many of the elements found i n Gauguin's p a i n t i n g are common to a l l pardons. As the Blue Guide notes, "pardons are sometimes accompanied by f e s t i v a l s , f a i r s , wrestling matches, or horseraces ... and sometimes by a 35 'benediction of the sea' ". In a recent New York Times a r t i c l e , for example, Herbert R. Lottman writes: ... on the t h i r d Sunday of September there i s a Pardon of C e l t i c wrestlers at the chapel of St. Cadou near Hennebont that affords the t o u r i s t an opportunity to see th i s t r a d i t i o n a l sport... While i n Brittany, watch for posters announcing a Fest-Noz ( t r a d i t i o n a l dance evening), wrestling, or other l o c a l f a r e . . . 36 In B r e i z - I z e l ou Vie des Bretons de l'Armorique, f i r s t published i n 1844, there i s a small chapter about the sport, about the audience "places ... comme a un amphitheatre sur les arbres v o i s i n s , " about the wrestlers with t h e i r "longue et genante chevelure s'attache en faisceau sur l e de r r i e r e de l a tete avec une grossiere tresse de p a i l l e , " and about the ceremony preceding the match: "... les deux adversaires s'avancant l'un vers l'autre d'un a i r r e l i g i e u x , font l e signe de croix, se frappent dans l a main et se jurent 37 q u ' i l s resteront amis apres comme avant l e combat..." As can be seen from Gauguin's painting, i t s amphitheatre-like arrangement, i t s long-haired 38 wrestlers, i t s apple tree, the above excerpts are generally a p p l i c a b l e . Herban, describing the Pardon of St. Nicodemus further, quotes l e Braz: "from 1876 on, p a r t i c i p a n t s have written describing the r i s i n g flames, whose r e f l e c t e d l i g h t turned the surrounding f i e l d s glowing red, the p r i e s t c a l l i n g 39 out, 'Le feu! Le feu de j o i e ! ' " Again, Le Braz i s not making any r e f e r -ence to St. Nicodemus's Pardon as Herban suggests he i s , and the quote, which i s from Le Braz's general introduction, i s i n Herban's argument both out 40 of context and misleading. Elsewhere, Le Braz devotes ten chapters of the book to the Pardon of Saint Jean-du-Doigt, which he c a l l s the Pardon of F i r e , 41 where elaborate descriptions of flames occur. By way of o f f e r i n g a source for the apple tree i n Gauguin's pa i n t i n g , Herban notes the presence of apple orchards i n the countryside around the 42 chapel of St. Nicodemus. On the other hand, Macquoid, i n the 1876 a r t i c l e "The Fa i r at St. Nicodeme," mentions the surrounding chestnut trees no 43 fewer than eight times, with not a si n g l e word i about an apple tree. As for the "curve of the r i v e r Blavet" and the "landscape spread[ing] out at a t i l t e d angle," Gauguin, as w i l l be shown, depicted water and land-44 scape in t h i s way i n other works executed p r i o r to V i s i o n apres l e sermon. In addition, the presence of a cow which Herban bases part of h i s argument 45 on appears again and again i n the a r t i s t ' s r e p e r t o i r e . Gauguin would not necessa r i l y have had to go to St. Nicholas-des-Eaux (and there i s no e x i s t i n g document to prove that he did) to witness Breton women, praying on t h e i r knees, outside wrestlers, an angel with outstretched wings, apple trees or 46 the red colour of wheat f i e l d s . Herban argues that because Gauguin mentions i n one of h i s l e t t e r s that in the painting " l e paysage et l a l u t t e n'existent que dans 1'imagination des gens en p r i e r e , par su i t e du sermon," he must have been i n s p i r e d to paint the subject of Jacob wrestling with the angel a f t e r having heard a sermon on 47 the same subject. The story of Jacob, however, was not altogether a r a r i t y 8. at t h i s time. A r e l i g i o u s play, Vie de Jacob, was being performed i n the 48 l a t e nineteenth century i n B r i t t a n y . A lengthy poem by.J. Germain-Lacour, 49 "La V i s i o n de Jacob," appears i n the A p r i l , 1891, issue of La Plume. It w i l l be demonstrated i n the thesis that Gauguin did not receive a l l h i s i . i n s p i r a t i o n from any one p a r t i c u l a r pardon. Important w i l l be the consider-ation of why and how the p r i m i t i v e environment i n B r i t t a n y would have appealed to Gauguin and how t h i s i n t e r e s t might have influenced the painting of V i s i o n apres le sermon. Moreover, i t w i l l be found that there were s i g n i -f i c a n t influences and factors other than the p r i m i t i v e environment of Brittany which contributed to the r e a l i z a t i o n of t h i s work as Gauguin envisioned i t . With consideration to the iconographic s i g n i f i c a n c e of V i s i o n apres le  sermon, c r i t i c s o f f e r various i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s . Merete Bodelson writes: In h i s painting of The V i s i o n he presents both the dream of the a r t i s t and the dream of the Breton women. From behind t h e i r closed eyes they are imagining Jacob's struggle with the Angel, and the a r t i s t - perhaps i d e n t i c a l with the p r i e s t whose eyes are also closed - i s seeing the whole scene i n h i s imagination: both the dreaming g i r l s and t h e i r dream ... 50 John Rewald suggests that the subject of Jacob wrestling with the angel i s "symbolic as well as r e l i g i o u s , almost as i f he himself meant not to r e l i n i q u i s h h i s grasp on h i s new ideas u n t i l he was blessed.""^ Wayne Anderson believes that " [ i ] n r e a l i t y Gauguin used the theme as 52 a v e h i c l e to point up h i s active male-passive female p o l a r i t y . . . " Ziva Maisels^as'sertsVp He paints not j u s t Jacob wrestling with the Angel, but, symbolically man, and s p e c i f i c a l l y Gauguin, wrestling with h i s i n s p i r a t i o n , h i s muse or h i s angel. It i s the a r t i s t grappling with a new a r t that he envisages and f e e l s capable of, refusing to release i t t i l l he has been blessed and h i s work accomplished - which i s exactly what occurs i n t h i s p a i n t i n g . 53 Sven Loevgren f e e l s that "one cannot avoid f e e l i n g strongly that Jacob's 9. struggle i s symbolic of Gauguin's own private problems." V. Jirat-Wasiutynski claims that: The V i s i o n i s not only an image of peasant f a i t h , but also a more personal a l l u s i o n to the struggle of the a r t i s t with h i s medium ... In the flaming red arena created by the c i r c l e of watching women, the angel-demon and Jacob wrestle; a tonsured p r i e s t with Gauguinesque features "watches" with eyes closed, as do the women, the struggle i n the theater of the mind. The modern a r t i s t i d e n t i f i e s with both v i c t o r and vanquished, making himself and being made at the same time. 55 Although several of the more noteworthy of the preceding views w i l l be explored further i n the thesis - such as Gauguin being portrayed i n the guise of a p r i e s t and Jacob's struggle being symbolic of Gauguin's own struggle -no one author convincingly argues how such i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s were a r r i v e d a t . One of the most i n t e r e s t i n g assessments of the work and i t s v i s i o n a r y aspects i s Albert Aurier's claim i n 1891, two and a h a l f years a f t e r the execution of the pain t i n g , that a mystic, i d e a l i s t i c reaction was occurring 56 and that V i s i o n apres l e sermon indicates the existence of t h i s tendency. Aurier also maintains that Gauguin marches at the head of t h i s new " i s t , " that he i s a sublime seer, the i n i t i a t o r of a new a r t . " ^ Aurier's views of Gauguin and his painting w i l l be discussed at length i n order to reveal how Gauguin's ideas r e f l e c t those of his environment and time. C. Purposes of the Present Thesis The thesis w i l l demonstrate how Gauguin's opinion of himself and h i s environment i s r e f l e c t e d i n the s t y l e and imagery of Vi s i o n apres l e sermon. There i s no doubt that V i s i o n apres l e sermon has no immediate precedent i n Gauguin's oeuvre but i t w i l l be shown that i t s s t y l i s t i c and iconographic elements are not new to h i s way of thinking and that thus V i s i o n apres l e  sermon cannot be considered i n i s o l a t i o n . I t i s a na t u r a l progression of Gauguin's work which evolves as consistent with h i s way of f e e l i n g and thinking. 10. The painting w i l l be viewed as a culminating point - r e f l e c t i v e of a l l Gauguin's private and a r t i s t i c concerns at the time i t was painted and simul-taneously r e f l e c t i v e of ideas current around him. By t r a c i n g Gauguin's development as an a r t i s t up to and including the painting of V i s i o n apres le  sermon the thesis w i l l show the emergence and growth of Gauguin's opinion of himself as a s p i r i t u a l leader, a seer, a creator of a new, visionary s t y l e . By focusing on V i s i o n apres l e sermon, i t w i l l be suggested that Gauguin's s t y l e lent i t s e l f to the representation of a v i s i o n -. i t w i l l be argued that h i s s t y l e i s appropriate to the subject matter i n t h i s p a r t i c u l a r rendering. How Gauguin's ideas were manifested i n the painting w i l l be demon-strated to suggest that t h i s work became for him a culminating statement of his b e l i e f s i n himself as a leader of a new movement and of h i s d i f f i c u l t i e s i n achieving recognition. The painting w i l l be discussed as a c l e a r r e f l e c t i o n of Gauguin's aims at t h i s time, so as to point out why he chose the subject of the v i s i o n of Jacob wrestling with the Angel and why he chose to depict the v i s i o n as he did. Gauguin and h i s work, Vision apres le sermon, w i l l then be placed into proper context with respect to the concept of v i s i o n i n the art of the second h a l f of the nineteenth century. The concept of the a r t i s t as a s p i r i t u a l leader, which was a prevalent a t t i t u d e by the 1880's, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the l i t e r a r y symbolist movement, w i l l be examined. The thesis w i l l , therefore, demonstrate that i t i s indeed the visionary aspects of Gauguin's Visio n apres l e sermon which are the most important i n revealing the nature and meaning of the painting and that i t i s c r u c i a l to understand the work i n t h i s context i n order to f u l l y comprehend Gauguin's a r t i s t i c development. 11. D. General Content and Methodology of the Thesis 1. The Growth and Development of Gauguin's Visionary Style - An Outline of Chapter Two Before examining the growth of Gauguin's .visionary s t y l e , h i s manner of depicting the v i s i o n i n comparison with other paintings of v i s i o n s i s b r i e f l y considered i n order to c l a r i f y aspects he stresses i n the v i s i o n , devices he employs - to include both r e a l and imagined world together - how he f i t s into the s t y l i s t i c t r a d i t i o n of depicting v i s i o n s and how he departs from the norm. The meditative state of the seers i n h i s painting as compared with the shock and amazement experienced by seers i n other depictions of v i s i o n s w i l l be stressed. I t w i l l be shown how Gauguin also develops a meditative approach to h i s a r t . Gauguin's s t y l i s t i c concerns w i l l be traced i n t h i s chapter i n order to discover the reasons for his manner of representing the V i s i o n . The a r t i s t ' s adoption of s t y l i s t i c t r a i t s , motifs, themes of those he admires, w i l l be explored i n order to show his i n c l i n a t i o n to be an e c l e c t i c , and h i s r e f u s a l to admit his sources. It w i l l be seen that Gauguin was well aware of the various a r t i s t i c views and pursuits around him, even though these were not included at great length - perhaps i n t e n t i o n a l l y - i n h i s w r i t i n g s . His s e l f - d i r e c t e d move away from naturalism and impressionism towards a personal and meditative approach to both nature and a r t w i l l be revealed by examining his i n t e r e s t i n Japanese a r t , the P r i m i t i v e , h i s opinions about expressive and emotional values of colour and l i n e , his wish to paint from memory and h i s desire to paint l i k e c h i l d r e n . The reasons for these int e r e s t s and i n c l i n a t i o n s w i l l be speculated upon. The consequences of Gauguin's contemplative approach w i l l be shown: art becomes an abstraction, a painting of inner v i s i o n s , with the theme of 12. closed eyes symbolizing his f e e l i n g s . Hence the s t y l e of Visi o n apres l e sermon w i l l seem more appropriate for the subject i t depicts. Gauguin's s t y l i s t i c tendencies w i l l be compared to other a r t i s t s with s i m i l a r concerns i n order to demonstrate that he i s not alone i n h i s i n c l i n a t i o n s . The s t y l e of Vision apres le sermon w i l l be analyzed i n order to show how t h i s p ainting exemplifies the culmination of Gauguin's s t y l i s t i c concerns. The preliminary sketch and the f i n i s h e d painting w i l l be compared to.show what aspects have been emphasized. The appropriateness of the subject of a v i s i o n to demonstrate the a r t i s t ' s new s t y l e w i l l be viewed by noting the s i m i l a r i t y of h i s s t y l i s t i c conception of a painting to Breton peasants meditating and dreaming i n front of nature, where a v i s i o n r e s u l t s , and e x i s t s only i n the peasants' imagina-t i o n . Gauguin's d e f i n i t i o n of art i s an abstraction r e s u l t i n g from dreaming i n front of nature. Neither process adheres to prescribed laws. V i s i o n  apres l e sermon expresses Gauguin's need to search for and develop h i s own s t y l e - nature reordered to f i t h i s own purposes, and to follow h i s own temperament. 2. The General Iconography of Visio n apres l e sermon - An Outline of Chapter Three In order to show what aspects of the story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel Gauguin chose to depict, comparisons w i l l be made with other versions of the same subject. Gauguin's version, i t w i l l be noticed, is.-highly suggestive and i n t e n t i o n a l l y ambiguous: a c l i m a c t i c moment i s portrayed when neither Jacob nor the Angel could claim to be the v i c t o r i n t h e i r w r e s tling match. Gauguin, i n h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , emphasizes not so much a s p e c i f i c aspect of the story, but more generally the a c t i v i t y of wrestling i t s e l f . 13. Subsequently, i t w i l l be made apparent how appropriate i t was for Gauguin to emphasize the aspect of wrestling as a metaphor for h i s own state of existence. It w i l l be argued that the idea of representing a struggle on canvas for Gauguin points out h i s own d i f f i c u l t i e s with Mette, h i s r e l a t i v e s , the lack of emotional support, and h i s a r t i s t i c struggle to vgain both recognition and f i n a n c i a l s e c u r i t y . His i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with Jean Valjean, an outcast of society but also a s p i r i t u a l leader, i n Victor Hugo's Les Miserables w i l l be explored to further., amplify the s u i t a b i l i t y of the wrestling theme and the theme of Gauguin as a leader. Gauguin's knowledge of t h i s novel serves, as w e l l , to show h i s awareness of a popular l i t e r a r y work and thus a f a m i l i a r i t y with h i s environ-ment . Part of Gauguin's struggle was a consequence of the d i f f i c u l t i e s he encountered while a s p i r i n g to become i d e n t i f i e d as the founder and leader of a new s t y l e . Gauguin as a leader w i l l be shown to follow h i s own temperas-ment, one who r a r e l y seeks advice but who w i l l i n g l y gives i t . He i s seen to e s t a b l i s h a following of d i s c i p l e s , l i k e Jacob i n the B i b l i c a l story or a Breton p r i e s t with h i s p a r i s h . Gauguin's view of the s p e c i a l r o l e held by the a r t i s t , who i n h i s opinion forms the f i n e s t part of the nation, i s noted to r e i n f o r c e h i s opinion of himself. He expresses himself i n the tone of a s p i r i t u a l leader, i n s t r u c t i n g h i s " d i s c i p l e s " to create l i k e the "Divine Master". These ideas, i t w i l l be argued, do not belong to Gauguin alone but mirror those of his contemporaries. The concept of painter as poet i s discussed and Gauguin's view of himself as a poet, his opinions of the poetic i n painting, Vincent van Gogh's p a r a l l e l l i n g of Gauguin with Petrarch and naming Gauguin as an important figure i n the new Renaissance of painting, are a l l considered. 14. Having done t h i s , the importance of Gauguin being regarded and regarding himself as a poet w i l l be established by showing that the concept of the poet as a visionary was a prevalent one i n 19th century l i t e r a r y and r e l i g i o u s c i r c l e s . The views of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Poe, Car l y l e and the Saint-Simonians pertaining to the poet as the i l l u m i n a t o r , the all-knowing, the prophet or p r i e s t w i l l be revealed. Along with t h i s , the poet's personal v i s i o n of r e a l i t y , the dream, w i l l be compared to Gauguin's ideas of dreaming i n front of nature by discussing the concept of dream i n 19th century l i t e r a r y and a r t i s t i c c i r c l e s i n order to show the s i g n i f i c a n c e of Gauguin's ideas, how they correspond with the views of h i s contemporaries, how these ideas are l i t e r a l l y depicted by him i n h i s V i s i o n apres le sermon. Having discussed how the a r t i s t assumes the r o l e of revealer, and i l l u m -inator, i t w i l l become evident that V i s i o n apres le sermon i n turn assumes a r e l i g i o u s s i g n i f i c a n c e . This view w i l l be rein f o r c e d by including the ideas of Charles Morice, Plotinus, C a r l y l e , Poe, Baudelaire, Mallarme, and others who f e e l that the a r t i s t s t r i v e s to become God, that the essence of his work i s r e l i g i o u s , and that i s the Godlike rendered v i s i b l e . Gauguin's access to the above ideas p r i o r to the painting of V i s i o n apres l e sermon w i l l then be explored to point out the p r o b a b i l i t y of h i s awareness of such contemporary opinions. An a r t i c l e by Albert Aurier, "Le Symbolisme en peinture-Paul Gauguin" (Mercure de France, March, 1891) w i l l then be examined c l o s e l y as h i s views of Gauguin indicate how Visio n apres le sermon was regarded i n the a r t i s t ' s own time by a leading symbolist c r i t i c . Aurier's assessment w i l l be shown to correspond with Gauguin's opinion of himself and h i s a r t : Gauguin march-ing at the head of a new s t y l e ; Gauguin a sublime seer and the i n i t i a t o r of a new a r t . Noteworthy, too, are Aurier's thoughts about the " i d e i s t " and 15. mystical tendencies i n art i n revealing ideas current at the time. Again, Gauguin's f a m i l i a r i t y with the " i d e i s t " philosophy of Balzac and Swedenborg p r i o r to 1888 are assessed i n order to determine the influence of such ideas on the execution of V i s i o n apres le sermon. More generally, Gauguin's exposure to and i n t e r e s t i n r e l i g i o n i s evaluated here i n order to reveal how i t would have been natural for him to paint a r e l i g i o u s theme ( i . e . V i s i o n apres l e sermon) due to h i s thorough f a m i l i a r i t y with C h r i s t i a n iconography, but how - i n l i g h t of what w i l l have been established from the above - he would wish to i n t e r p r e t t h i s r e l i g i o u s theme i n h i s own way and to convey his own ideas. I t w i l l be shown that Gauguin was not p a r t i c u l a r l y r e l i g i o u s i n the orthodox sense, but i n a highly personal way, indicated by h i s i n t e r e s t i n the p r i m i t i v e and i n Breton l i f e . V i s i o n apres l e sermon, by r e f l e c t i n g a r u s t i c and s u p e r s t i -tious s i m p l i c i t y f o r Gauguin, becomes a r e l i g i o u s work i n the truest sense in h i s estimation. Gauguin's i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the pious and s u p e r s t i t i o u s nature of the Bretons as p r i m i t i v e w i l l be stressed f o r i t w i l l be seen that, i n s t r i v i n g for r u s t i c and s u p e r s t i t i o u s s i m p l i c i t y i n his p o r t r a y a l of the figures and manner of representation ( i . e . style) i n V i s i o n apres le sermon, Gauguin was r e a l i z i n g h i s search for the p r i m i t i v e i n p a i n t i n g . His search for the p r i m i t i v e i n painting w i l l be acknowledged as a personal quest, a r e l i g i o u s and mystical one and a search for s e l f - r e a l i z a t i o n . Thus, i t w i l l be seen that Gauguin's reason for choosing a b i b l i c a l story was above a l l personal. 3. Gauguin's Intentions i n h i s use of Imagery i n V i s i o n apres l e sermon -An Outline of Chapter Four F i n a l l y , the iconography and meaning of Gauguin's V i s i o n apres l e sermon w i l l be examined i n order to discover how t h i s p a i n t i n g was for him the most 16. appropriate subject of self-expression, how the elements had a d i s t i n c t l y personal purpose. This personal symbolic i n t e r p r e t a t i o n w i l l be j u s t i f i e d by drawing p a r a l l e l s between Gauguin and Jacob and also between the p r i e s t and Gauguin. The iconographic s i g n i f i c a n c e of the structure of V i s i o n apres l e sermon w i l l be dealt with: f i r s t , the t h e a t r e - l i k e arrangement and the concept of theatre for Gauguin and h i s time w i l l be looked at; secondly, the importance of the tree w i l l be assessed; f i n a l l y , the open-eyed figu r e at the centre of Gauguin's work w i l l be examined. In the end V. Jirat-Wasiutynski's view that t h i s painting, V i s i o n apres l e sermon, i s "a symbolic image i n which s i m p l i f i c a t i o n and abstraction have introduced enough ambiguity and suggestiveness to provoke and j u s t i f y 58 symbolic i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of a more personal (to Gauguin) s o r t " w i l l be regarded as v a l i d . In addition, however, because of the nature of t h i s symbolic i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , V i s i o n apres le sermon w i l l also be: acknowledged as r e f l e c t i n g many of the major a r t i s t i c and p h i l o s o p h i c a l concerns of the time. E. L i t e r a t u r e and References Cited i n the Thesis In the t h e s i s , Gauguin's own writings, memoirs and reminiscences w i l l be u t i l i z e d . Gauguin never acknowledged any sources i n h i s w r i t i n g s ; h i s written documents remain highly ambiguous and suggestive and reveal nothing of h i s e c l e c t i c i s m . This unwillingness to impart any d i r e c t information about his work w i l l be seen to correspond to the i n t e n t i o n a l l y suggestive and abstract aspects of the s t y l e he develops. Vincent van Gogh's l e t t e r s w i l l be r e f e r r e d to as they w i l l i n g l y admit much more than Gauguin's l e t t e r s about the various events and attitudes of the time. Relevant writings of contemporary and e a r l i e r c r i t i c s (e.g. 17. Aurier, Morice and Baudelaire, e t c . ) , and of the Symbolist poets (e.g. Mallarme, Verlaine, Rimbaud, etc.) w i l l be employed as w e l l . Relevant comparative v i s u a l material w i l l be included i n the study, i n order to seek to e s t a b l i s h what may have been points of reference and sources of i n s p i r a t i o n f o r Gauguin (e.g. Japanese p r i n t s , Delacroix, Bernard, e t c . ) . F. V i s u a l Description of Vision aprfes le sermon La V i s i o n apres l e sermon depicts a group of Breton women and a p r i e s t experiencing a v i s i o n of Jacob wrestling with an Angel. The viewer observes the struggle from behind the foreground figures who are turned with t h e i r backs facing the f r o n t . The v i s i o n occurs out-of-doors as indic a t e d by the presence of a tree in l e a f , growing diagonally from the lower r i g h t to the upper l e f t . There i s also water i n the distance behind the f o l i a g e of the tree on the upper r i g h t . To the upper l e f t of the tree stands a cow. Twelve women, clothed i n Breton costume, wearing white bonnets with dark blue and black .-dresses, are grouped along the l e f t side and front, t h e i r p o s i t i o n s indicated by overlapping. On the furthest plane and hence f u r -thest* f rom the viewer, on the upper l e f t , hidden l a r g e l y by branches and leaves, are three of the women, facing f r o n t a l l y , s i t t i n g on the ground with hands clasped i n l i g h t blue-aproned laps. Immediately beside them to t h e i r r i g h t and closer to the viewer i n the upper l e f t corner of the canvas are two more women, seated as the f i r s t three, but turned i n three-quarter view. Both wear white caps and dark dresses with white c o l l a r s and aprons. The closer one who i s p a r t i a l l y cut by the picture's l e f t edge has her head turned i n p r o f i l e towards Jacob and the Angel. These f i v e figures face both the p r i e s t at the lower r i g h t corner and the wrestling match at the upper r i g h t . 18. In the l e f t middleground are three white-bonneted heads i n a row. The furthest one to the ri g h t kneels on her knees, hands folded i n an at t i t u d e of prayer, almost f u l l - f a c e , head i n c l i n e d with eyes closed. She faces i n the d i r e c t i o n of the p r i e s t . She i s p a r t i a l l y overlapped on the l e f t by a woman also kneeling on her knees, also i n a reverent pose with folded hands, head bowed, eyes closed. But she kneels i n p r o f i l e view, facing the action on the other side of the tree . Her head appears much too large i n proportion to the rest of her body. The former wears a l i g h t blue apron over a white c o l l a r e d dark dress, the l a t t e r , an ocher-brown one. The t h i r d woman, closest to the picture edge, i s completely overlapped by a fore-ground f i g u r e , with the exception of her face i n three-quarter view, which reveals shut eyes and a pronounced scowl; as her hands are hidden, one does not see i f she i s i n an att i t u d e of prayer or not; her head i s turned away from the v i s i o n and towards the p r i e s t . In sharp contrast the figu r e i n front of her i s shown with a t r u l y i n s p i r e d countenance and the hint of a smile, head bowed i n p r o f i l e , eyes closed, hands held up close to her i n the gesture of prayer; she faces r i g h t , towards both the p r i e s t and the two wrestlers. Placed at the lower l e f t of the painting with only her r i g h t shoulder and p r o f i l e showing, she i s one of the close foreground f i g u r e s . In front of her, to the r i g h t , again i n p r o f i l e i s a figu r e who occupies a prominent p o s i t i o n i n the work: she stands highest of the f i v e foreground persons; whereas a l l the others in the composition are grouped or huddled c l o s e l y together, she i s surrounded by more space; wearing a smaller, simpler bonnet and no c o l l a r , her neck and face are accentuated. Her forehead and bonnet's upper edge echo the l i n e of the tree's l e f t side above her. Her head occupies as much pi c t u r e space as the two combatants. Unlike the others, she stands with head u p l i f t e d , eyes wide open, gazing ": 19. d i r e c t l y towards Jacob and the Angel.. Her gaze t i e s together the l e f t and rig h t sides of the composition. Moreover, her right eye f a l l s d i r e c t l y at the centre of the pai n t i n g . The remaining two women, the l e f t one overlapped s l i g h t l y by the r i g h t one, are represented from the back, brought closest to the picture plane and viewer, behind both the woman j u s t discussed to the l e f t and also the p r i e s t to the r i g h t . (The t i p s of t h e i r noses are i n front, on ei t h e r side, of the enormous white shapes. This woman and the p r i e s t seem thus somehow assoc-iated, f o r the faces on the other side of the head-covers are not v i s i b l e . ) The backs of the two figures reveal a large white c o l l a r to the l e f t and a dark green one on the r i g h t , with black dresses underneath. The bonnets seem quite abstract i n rendering, the one on the l e f t somewhat mask-like i n appearance. With sides hanging down, they thrust one's gaze up towards the wrestlers and also along the tree to the upper l e f t , to the cow and down again along the f a r l e f t . The p r i e s t stands i n p r o f i l e at the extreme lower r i g h t corner with very l i t t l e of his shoulder and c o l l a r showing. The back of h i s head, l e f t ear, chin and neck are cut by the picture's r i g h t edge. Head bowed, eyes closed, he i s turned more towards the women to h i s l e f t to whom he has delivered the sermon about Jacob and the Angel than towards the wrestlers. From the p r i e s t ' s d i r e c t i o n grows the tree, i t s lower trunk hidden by the two bonnets. The diagonally placed trunk divides the spectators to the l e f t from t h e i r v i s i o n to the r i g h t , the ph y s i c a l and actual from the meta-phy s i c a l and imagined. At the same time i t divides the female figures on the l e f t from the male figures on the r i g h t , the p r i e s t included. The tree, a burnt sienna colour, extending past the upper l e f t of the picture's edge, branches out across the top of the painting to the r i g h t , i t s dark and 20. l i g h t green f o l i a g e running diagonally to the extreme upper r i g h t . This area frames the action below as does the tree trunk to the l e f t ; a t r i a n -gular space i s thus formed with the addition of the picture's r i g h t edge into which the wrestlers are placed as well as the p r i e s t . Light blue and white strokes show through the lower edge of the f o l i a g e stretching to the r i g h t , i n d i c a t i n g water, as mentioned before. The cow, standing to the l e f t of the tree and i n front of the women seated at the upper l e f t , i s painted with i t s nose touching the l e f t side of the trunk as i s the Angel's righ t foot touching the r i g h t side. The p o s i t i o n of the cow's four limbs i s not t o t a l l y unlike the placement of the wrestlers' legs. The two bare-footed wrestlers are much smaller i n siz e than the fore-ground figures and larger than the most distant spectators, a l l of them arranged i n a semi-circle around the action and above i t . The Angel has large, yellow, outstretched wings, the r i g h t wing following the curve of the tree, the l e f t wing following the lower edge of the f o l i a g e . Dressed :' in blue, he leans forward with h i s l e f t arm reaching across Jacob's back to clasp h i s shoulder, h i s r i g h t hand gripping Jacob's neck. Jacob, i n green, bends from the waist with h i s l e f t hand on the Angel's l e f t c a l f . While Jacob's r i g h t arm i s not v i s i b l e i t may well be tucked around the Angel's back or waist (the curve of Jacob's back suggests t h i s ) . Although the Angel appears to be i n a superior p o s i t i o n as conqueror and Jacob as the conquered, i n actual fact Jacob has been represented i n the correct and advantageous p o s i t i o n whereby he could e a s i l y throw the Angel. The pronounced angles of the Angel's wings, the s t i f f f o l d s of the pair's clothing and the t r i a n g u l a r space into which they are set a l l c o n t r i -bute to a sharpness i n comparison to the s o f t e r e f f e c t s of rounder curved 21. l i n e s on the opposite side of the composition. The background throughout i s painted a vibrant strong red, a s t r i k i n g contrast to the r i c h yellow, blue, green, black and white' elsewhere. For the most part the forms are rendered i n f l a t areas of colour, although there i s evidence of shading and modelling with small, short brushstrokes i n the foreground f i g u r e s . F a c i a l features are not distinguishable except, again, in the foreground area. The forms are outlined, with the width of the l i n e varying, i n ei t h e r gold or black. As one sees from the gold band.running along the tree's r i g h t edge, l i g h t enters from an unknown source to the upper r i g h t . G. Elements Found i n Vision apres l e sermon as Part of Paul Gauguin's  Repertoire of Motifs P r i o r to and Including 1888. If one considers the works painted before and during 1888, one may observe that c e r t a i n devices and motifs existent i n 'Vision apres l e sermon 59 were not unprecedented and had been previously employed by Gauguin. When examining the manner i n which he depicted Breton women i t becomes apparent that, with the exception of p o r t r a i t s , they are always situated outside, i n the countryside, by and large not engaged i n strenuous p h y s i c a l a c t i v i t y . ^ They are shown s i t t i n g or standing, alone or i n groups. Yet even i f there are two or more women shown together, they seldom appear to 61 be communicating with one another. In many cases, t h e i r stance and po s i t i o n suggests a sense of aloneness or soli t u d e ; each e x i s t s i n a pr i v a t e , '62 s i l e n t space. At. times they appear i n meditative or ponderous poses; 63 r a r e l y do they seem joyous or light-hearted. I t was not unusual for 64 Gauguin to place one man amidst a group of women. Nor was i t unique to 65 place a sing l e cow in a composition with f i g u r e s . Gauguin was painting cows as early as 1884 i n Rouen, where one or more cows would occur i n a 22. a landscape with or without p e o p l e . ^ By the end of 1888 he had completed roughly twenty-five paintings i n which a cow (or cows) appeared. In the rendering of trees Gauguin painted quite a few works with single trunks growing at a diagonal and/or cut by the top and/or bottom edge of the 67 68 canvas. In Martinique they become more bent. Often a sin g l e tree i s placed i n the immediate foreground but nowhere before Visio n apres l e sermon 69 does i t appear as a separating device. As for the treatment of water, Gauguin often s t y l i z e d waves and delineated white caps as he did i n the upper r i g h t corner of V i s i o n apres l e sermon.^ Wrestling figures appear in two of Gauguin's works p r i o r to August 1888. As early as 1885 Gauguin began to use a diagonal compositional device, a l i n e usually drawn from the lower l e f t to the upper r i g h t , such as that occurs i n the V i s i o n - the l i n e produced by the tree's f o l i a g e to the upper 72 r i g h t separating the water behind from the land below. Figures placed i n the composition whereby they are p a r t i a l l y cut by a framing edge and/or brought up close to the picture plane were a recur-73 rent compositional element from 1883 on. Paintings with bird's-eye views or high vantage points were not uncommon in Gauguin's oeuvre; i n 1888, landscape, s t i l l - l i f e and human subjects were 74 repeatedly viewed from above. As w e l l , commencing i n 1881, works by Gauguin began to appear period-i c a l l y i n which a fig u r e was placed i n the corner and the viewer had the impression of peering over the person's shoulder at what was being gazed a t . 7 5 When viewed i n l i g h t of the many pre - e x i s t i n g elements and motifs occurring i n Visio n apres l e sermon t h i s painting does not mark a sudden or r a d i c a l break i n Gauguin's oeuvre, unlike anything he had ever executed 23. before. That the work i s to be regarded more i n terms of a n a t u r a l outgrowth i n s t y l e and personal convictions w i l l become evident i n subsequent chapters. Whether the motifs occur for purely compositional reasons or whether they are thematically important w i l l be considered. 24. CHAPTER TWO: THE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF GAUGUIN'S VISIONARY STYLE A. Gauguin's Depiction of V i s i o n i n V i s i o n apres l e sermon compared to  Representations of Visions P r i o r to 1888 As was mentioned above i n Chapter One, the V i s i o n apres le sermon occurs out of doors - a commonplace p r a c t i c e i n the depictions of v i s i o n s executed p r i o r to 1888.^ Such works commonly depicted a group of people experiencing 2 the same v i s i o n . I t was not t y p i c a l , however, to show someone who i n i t i a -ted or i n s p i r e d the v i s i o n (the p r i e s t i n Gauguin's work) beside and/or i n the same pose as the spectators. Most often, as i n Gauguin's painting, both the v i s i o n and visionary .were i l l u s t r a t e d , although i n many cases j u s t the visionary was represented - a person seen meditating or looking out into space with no v i s i o n a c t u a l l y noted - and i n other cases j u s t t h e ~ v i s i o n 3 without the witnesses. In works l i k e V i s i o n apres le sermon where both are shown, one must consider whether the v i s i o n - the thing seen, or the v i s i o n -ary - the seer, i s emphasized and given prominence i n terms of p i c t u r e space. In Gauguin's painting both are given equal emphasis, a p r a c t i c e which 4 i s generally true i n many examples. The r e l a t i o n s h i p between the visionary and the v i s i o n - what kind of i n t e r r a c t i o n i f any e x i s t s - - i s also important. Gauguin has depicted h i s p a r t i c i p a n t s facing the v i s i o n but with heads bent and eyes closed, the exception being the middle female fi g u r e whose gaze i s directed towards the v i s i o n i n front of her. Most vi s i o n s p r i o r to Gauguin portrayed the obser-ver looking upward open-eyed at the spectacle, gazing up i n shock, amazement or fear, open-mouthed, with outstretched hands, as i f having no idea before-hand that a v i s i o n might occur Gauguin's V i s i o n apres le sermon resembles Redon's Apparition of 25. 1870-75 (although the v i s i o n i s not represented) where the v i s i o n a r y with closed eyes stands i n a prolonged t r a n c e - l i k e s t a t e . The open-eyed c e n t r a l f i g u r e i n V i s i o n apre~s l e sermon may i n turn be compared with Gourbet's Voyante who gazes out, seemingly unaware of and through the viewer, at her v i s i o n . ^ Bastien-Lepage's Joan of Arc displays the same lack of awareness of her p h y s i c a l environment; she perceives the apparition behind her but gazes calmly into a space out beyond, behind and to the r i g h t of the viewer. The Annunciation of the 1499 Missale romanum and the works of the same t i t l e by Goltzius a f t e r Martin de Vos and by Raphael, a l l reveal the same unperturbed expression of the Madonna as i s the case with the c e n t r a l female i n V i s i o n  apr£s l e sermon. The poses of Gauguin's spectators suggest a prolonged state of meditation - a duration of time passing as Jacob wrestles with the Angel. 7 The r e s u l t i s a dream-like state not unlike Puvis de Chavannes' 8 Dream (1883) where the fi g u r e on the ground dreams of angels hovering above. Another example i s Goya's Dream of Reason Produces Monsters (1797), where 9 the b a t - l i k e creatures f l y around the sleeper's head. Utamaro's woodcut, A Youth's Dream, depicts a young man not asleep but awake with h i s eyes closed dreaming about h i s future; t h i s woodcut i s s i m i l a r to V i s i o n apres l e  sermon i n that the experience does not occur to a sleeping f i g u r e . " ^ In Visi o n apres l e sermon the p r i e s t ' s sermon has i n i t i a t e d the v i s i o n . Having heard the sermon the women are i n s p i r e d to f a l l i nto a meditative state whereby a v i s i o n takes place. They have been consciously prepared for the occurrence of the v i s i o n which the p r i e s t has helped to induce or to create. The viewer of Gauguin's painting i s also meant to experience the v i s i o n as do the spectators i n the p a i n t i n g . This i s indicated by the near p o s i t i o n of the foreground spectators, t h e i r backs facing the viewer of 26. Gauguin's work. The viewer i n turn i s si t u a t e d immediately behind them. Unlike Pore's L'Ange de Tobie where so much ph y s i c a l distance e x i s t s between the viewer i n the foreground and the spectators i n the middleground and the v i s i o n high up i n the sky - i n Vision apres l e sermon there i s an immediacy and closeness f e l t by the viewer. There i s no distance whatsoever; one i s both a spectator and simultaneously aware of the observers i n front of him. * When both the r e a l and the imagined world are included together i n the depiction of a visi o n a r y work, i n many instances one notes the use of a separating device between the imagined and the r e a l . In Gauguin's work, the tree growing from the lower r i g h t diagonally towards the upper l e f t acts to separate the v i s i o n from the v i s i o n a r i e s (with the exception of the p r i e s t -t h i s perhaps i n t e n t i o n a l l y , to suggest a closer r e l a t i o n s h i p between the p r i e s t and w r e s t l e r s ) . When compared with p r i o r works i t i s apparent that Gauguin i s quite unique i n using the t r e e . In other works the v i s i o n i s enveloped i n a cloudy substance. In many the v i s i o n emits a glow or rays 12 of l i g h t or i s sit u a t e d i n i t s own bubble of space. In most examples, the v i s i o n f l o a t s above the visionary i n space as i f having descended from some 13 higher plane. This i s i n fac t how the angel i s represented i n Gauguin's version of the v i s i o n of Jeanne d'Arc (W#329) . Like Bastien-Lepage, Gauguin paints the v i s i o n behind Joan of Arc, but where Gauguin's Joan stares d i r e c t l y at the viewer, Bastien-Lepage's saint stares past. Gauguin paints the angel with the same outstretched wings as i n Vision apres l e sermon but foreshortened i n a cloud i n the sky., In contrast to others Gauguin's v i s i o n takes place i n an arena-like space below the spectators who are groupe'd around i n a semi-circular fashion as though watching a t h e a t r i c a l perform-ance on a stage - some (foreground figures) from a balcony and some (middle 27. and upper l e f t figures) from an orchestra l e v e l . In t h i s way, Gauguin's structure of the v i s i o n and i t s composition departs from the norm. Having pointed out some s i m i l a r i t i e s and some differences between Gauguin's V i s i o n apres le sermon and other depictions of v i s i o n s , the reasons for Gauguin's manner of representation w i l l be examined by t r a c i n g the main thread of h i s s t y l i s t i c concerns. B. Gauguin's A r t i s t i c Interests and Concerns and Their S t y l i s t i c Consequences 1. Gauguin as E c l e c t i c : His Early Interest and C o l l e c t i o n of Contemporary Art as i t Later A f f e c t s His Style Evidence of the nature of Gauguin's e a r l i e s t a r t i s t i c i n t e r e s t s i s found i n the works he chose to c o l l e c t . Three Pissarro paintings belonging to Gauguin which he exhibited at the fourth Impressionist e x h i b i t i o n show that 14 he was purchasing paintings as early as 1879;'' Between and perhaps before 1879 and 1887, Gauguin acquired no l e s s than f i f t y works, among, them s i x canvases by Cezanne, two charcoal drawings by Daumier, a p a s t e l by Degas and one by Mary Cassatt, two Forains, eleven Guillaumins, two Jongkinds, two. Manets (one p a i n t i n g and one p a s t e l ) , t h i r t e e n P i s s a r r o s , two Renoirs and two S i s leys ."^ In addition to Camille Pissarro's i n i t i a l tutorship and Gauguin's introduction by Pissarro and Emile Schuffenecker to other a r t i s t s , Gauguin was much influenced by the works that he owned, adopting i n h i s own painting s i m i l a r s t y l i s t i c t r a i t s - cursory brushstroke, theory of complimentaries -motifs and themes c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of impressionist w o r k s . F r o m P i s s a r r o he learned ways of rendering landscape."'"7 From Degas, he derived the method of cutting figures by the picture edge (an obvious example being Nature morte 18 au p r o f i l de Laval of 1886, Brittany, W//207, p. 76). In the n a t u r a l pose of a boy adjusting h i s shoe i n the Hiver or P e t i t Breton arrangeant son sabot 28. (Brittany, 1888, W//258, p. 96) Gauguin has been d i r e c t l y influenced by 19 Degas' p a s t e l , Danseuse ajustant son chausson, which he owned. In 1885 (Copenhagen) Gauguin painted a fan-shaped gouache on canvas, copied a f t e r 20 Cezanne's painting, Montagnes, L'Estaque, .another..of h i s possessions. Before 1884, Gauguin had executed another fan-study with motifs (figures, a horse and house), drawn from Cezanne's La Moisson which Gauguin probably 21 owned as w e l l . He chose these motifs to reorder them into h i s own designs. This choice i s also apparent i n the switching of the r i g h t and 1 22 l e f t sides of the landscape i n h i s ceramic vase of the winter 1886-7. Cezanne's s t i l l - l i f e owned by Gauguin was u t i l i z e d by the a r t i s t i n the background of h i s P o r t r a i t de Femme a l a nature morte de Cezanne (1890, 23 W#387) and i t s elements ( t a b l e c l o t h , glass, knife) t i l t e d - d i f f e r e n t l y . I t i s c l e a r that Gauguin was from the beginning very much an e c l e c t i c , i n f l u -enced by works he admired. He d i d not hesitate to u t i l i z e and to benefit a r t i s t i c a l l y from his surroundings, switching, changing sources to meet his purpose but ra r e l y acknowledging h i s courses of- i n s p i r a t i o n . Due to f i n a n c i a l d i f f i c u l t i e s , Gauguin eventually had to s e l l most of 24 his c o l l e c t i o n . From his reluctance to part with Cezanne's works one senses h i s p a r t i c u l a r l y deep admiration for t h i s a r t i s t . In a l e t t e r to Schuffenecker from Pont-Aven, i n June 1888, he refuses to s e l l the s t i l l -l i f e mentioned above f o r three hundred francs, claiming that i t i s an exceptional p e a r l , the apple of h i s eye and that he would part with i t only a f t e r his l a s t s h i r t : Le Cezanne que vous me demandez est une perle exception-n e l l e et j'en a i deja refuse 300Frs, j'y tiens comme a l a prunelle de mes yeux et a. moins de necessite absolue je m'en deferai apres ma derniere chemise. 25 Gauguin wrote to Pis s a r r o asking him to make Cezanne t a l k i n h i s sleep i n 29. 26 order to lea r n the secret of h i s p a i n t i n g . Cezanne's appeal for Gauguin had to do not only with i n h e r i t i n g aspects of s t y l e but also with Cezanne's conception of and approach to nature - the man himself and h i s s o l i t a r y ways vmattered to Gauguin. On January 14, 1885 i n a l e t t e r to Schuffenecker, Gauguin re f e r r e d to Cezanne as a mystic and described him as having an e s s e n t i a l l y mystic Eastern nature, looking l i k e an old man of the Levant: Voyez Cezanne, l'incompris, l a nature essentiellement mystique de 1'Orient (son visage ressemble a un ancien du „ Levant). 27 2. The Appeal of the Orient and the Japanese Influence on Gauguin's Art Gauguin's references to the Orient and Far East were not unusual i n the l i g h t of access to Japanese art he must have had at t h i s time. In 1883 the Georges P e t i t Gallery offered a major e x h i b i t i o n of Japanese 28 art borrowed from private c o l l e c t i o n s i n P a r i s . P i s s a r r o , with whom Gauguin was i n close touch at' t h i s time, was t r u l y impressed with the ex h i b i -29 t i o n . No doubt, he would have shared h i s enthusiasm with Gauguin. In early summer 1886, having met the engraver and ceramicist, Felix'Bracquemond, Gauguin would have i n a l l p r o b a b i l i t y been introduced to the a r t i s t ' s vast 30 c o l l e c t i o n of Japanese p r i n t s . Degas, whom Gauguin knew and with whose works he was f a m i l i a r , also c o l l e c t e d printed by Utamaro, Kiyonaga, Hiroshige, 31 Hokusai and others. Vincent and Theo van Gogh, with whom Gauguin had become acquainted i n Paris i n the autumn of 1886, organized an ex h i b i t i o n of Japanese p r i n t s at the restaurant Le Tambourin i n the Boulevard .Clichy i n 32 1887. Emile Bernard writes of meeting Vincent i n the f a l l of 1887 at 33 Cormon's and of going home with him and seeing Japanese p r i n t s on the w a l l s . Taking into account h i s acquaintances and the abundance of Japanese art i n P a r i s , Gauguin would have had ample opportunity to study t h i s a r t from an { 30. early date on. By 1889 he had h i s own s e l e c t i o n of p r i n t s , among them works by Utamaro and Hokusai, which he hung i n h i s studio at the Pension Gloanec 34 i n Pont-Aven and also i n Paris . " The e a r l i e s t i n d i c a t i o n of Gauguin's awareness of and i n t e r e s t i n the Orient i s found i n the 1873 p e n c i l and water-colour sketch of an O r i e n t a l 35 d o l l . The f i r s t example of his use and incorporation of Japanese motifs into h i s own works comes i n 1884, with the execution of a wooden box: on 36 one side Gauguin has fastened two miniscule Japanese Netzke (theatre) masks. In 1885 he painted a s t i l l - l i f e , Nature morte a l a tete de Cheval (W#183), which included a Japanese d o l l and two round O r i e n t a l fans. Beginning i n 1884 Gauguin painted numerous fan-shaped paintings i n addition to the two 37 mentioned above. This was not an o r i g i n a l method of organizing a composi-t i o n , as shown by Degas' Fan Design: Dancers of ca. 1879 or Pissarro's 38 L'Hiver retour de l a f o i r e , which Gauguin owned as early as 1879. From the frequency with which Gauguin used the shape, however, one notes i t s appeal fo r the a r t i s t . The prevalence of close-up and cut-off s i l h o u e t t e figures i n Gauguin's works (see charts, Chapter One, inc l u d i n g V i s i o n apres l e sermon) has ante-cedents not only i n Degas but o r i g i n a l l y i n Japanese p r i n t s , such as the close-up view i n Kunichika's Actor P o r t r a i t or Koua-Setsu's si l h o u e t t e p r i n t 39 which appeared i n the 1882 Gazette des Beaux Arts) i n d i c a t e . Natural poses l i k e bending over to t i e a shoe (Degas' b a l l e t dancers and Gauguin's breton boy, noted above) have again a Japanese precedent, as does the overlapping of 40 forms i n a composition i n order to create a sense of distance. A s t r u c t u r a l device used by Japanese a r t i s t s of the time and copied by Gauguin involved the use of a prominent diagonal. The l i n e marked by the stretc h of f o l i a g e and water to the upper r i g h t of Visio n apres l e sermon and 31. some of Gauguin's other works (see charts, Chapter One) i s comparable to the oar i n Hiroshige's Bueten Temple (although i n reverse) and to the wooden 41 board i n the same a r t i s t ' s Wagon Wheel. The diagonal formed by the boat extending from the lower right into the centre i n Hiroshige's Station-Mitsuke i s s i m i l a r to the d i r e c t i o n i n which the tree i n V i s i o n apres l e sermon i s growing - as i s the diagonally placed row of trees i n Hiroshige's Promontory 42 i n Tango. Hiroshige's Rain i n Shono appearing as a full-page reproduction i n Volume Two of Bing's Japon A r t i s t i q u e (1888-91) combines the two diagonals (of people arranged i n a l i n e from the lower r i g h t to the upper l e f t and vegetation from the l e f t to the upper right) as i n Gauguin's V i s i o n apres l e sermon. The tree i n Visio n apres l e sermon also bears some resemblence to the many p r i n t s of bridges by Hiroshige i n i t s curve, d i r e c t i o n and separation of 43 the composition into two halves. That Gauguin used a Japanese p r i n t as a prototype for the tree seems almost c e r t a i n . His version i s not unlike the f l a t t e n e d s i l h o u e t t e brought close to the p i c t u r e plane s t r e t c h i n g from lower 44 l e f t to upper r i g h t i n Hiroshige's Moon Pine at Ueno. Vincent van Gogh, while i n Paris during the f i r s t h a l f of 1887, painted a copy of one of Hiroshige's p r i n t s , The Flowering Plum Tree. Hiroshige's plum tree, l i k e his Moon Pine, curves across the p i c t u r e plane, the main trunk growing i n the 45 same d i r e c t i o n as the tree i n Visio n apres le sermon. As he became acquainted with Van Gogh before the Japonaiserie work was painted, Gauguin might have seen Vincent's copy and the Hiroshige p r i n t at some time during the period the two 46 spent together i n P a r i s . Later that year i n Martinique, when he painted the two trunks i n the l e f t foreground of Bord de Mer^II"" (W//218) (and perhaps also the.water and h i l l s i n the back), i t i s probable that Gauguin was using as a s t a r t i n g point Utagawa Kuniyoshi's View from Fifty-Three Stages and Four 47 Post Towns Along the Tokaido. The diagonal arrangement of boats i n h i s 32. Fenetre ouverte sur l a mer (W//292) of 1888 (Brittany) i s s i m i l a r to Hiroshige's 48 Fishing Boats Returning to Yabase. The bird';s-eye view used i n Visio n apres le sermon for the wrestling figures and cow was a common compositional device employed i n Japanese 49 p r i n t s . Gauguin's La vague (W#286), a Breton water-rockscape painted i n 1888, i s another example of such a view with i t s p a i r of minis'cule figures i n the upper r i g h t corner ."^ Animals too, were executed i n t h i s way by . a r t i s t s such as Kuniyoshi i n h i s cat p r i n t , or Utamaro with his t i g e r . I n the rendering of a cow Gauguin did likewise not only i n V i s i o n apres l e sermon but also i n other Breton works, such as Vaches au bord de l a mer (W#206, 1886) and Audessus de gouffre (W#282, 1888). Les t r o i s p e t i t chiens (W#293) and Le p e t i t chat aux troix-pommes (W//294), again painted i n B r i t t a n y i n 1888, are another two very obvious examples of t h i s view down onto three puppies eating from a bowl i n one case and a small cat i n the other. In the l a t t e r two works showing the puppies and cat, the forms have been flattened with l i t t l e or no shading and brought close to the p i c t u r e surface as i s the case with Japanese p r i n t s . The objects and animals have also been outlined i n black and coloured b r i g h t l y , again i n d i c a t i v e of the Japanese manner. Gauguin's La vague (W#286), i n i t s s t y l i z e d ornamental treatment of the water, the c u r l i n g , delineated foam and the undulating, sweeping l i n e s of the waves, i s s i m i l a r to Hokusai's Great Wave o f f Kanagawa and Hokkei's 52 Mekari F e s t i v a l . Although Gauguin had been exposed to brightly-coloured Japanese p r i n t s long before 1887, i t was not u n t i l he %weri.t. to••• Martinique, with i t s t r o p i c a l l i g h t and colour, that h i s palette became s i g n i f i c a n t l y brighter and h i s 53 forms consequently acquired a more decorative appearance. Bord de.mer (1) (W//217) of 1887, showing the Martinique seashore, reveals a s t y l i z e d treatment 33. of trees with patches of colour for f o l i a g e . People i n the middle-ground are indicated with l i t t l e d e t a i l or modelling. An o v e r a l l even pattern i s established throughout. In Huttes sous les arbres (W#230) and Vegetation t r o p i c a l e (W#231) , both of 1887, Gauguin has obtained a uniform decorative surface through s w i r l i n g movements of l i n e and broken areas of colour rendered with broader brushstrokes. In the l a t t e r painting the two figures and the horse have been so abstracted as to appear barely v i s i b l e . In the Martinique works Gauguin has shown l i t t l e i n t e r e s t i n transient l i g h t e f f e c t s or s p a t i a l depth. Forms have not been broken up into .components of l i g h t and shadow. Rather, the surface q u a l i t y of the canvas has been emphasized with patterns of brushstrokes arranged within abstracted shapes. The colours have been applied evenly, i n bright, r i c h tones. The t a p e s t r y - l i k e e f f e c t of a l l three works continued to appear i n Gauguin's oeuvre the following year. In 1888, Le Gardie'n de pores (W//255) depicting a swineherd and pigs i n a Breton land-scape, was painted by Gauguin with no convincing s p a t i a l recession, but rather with the same bright t r o p i c a l p a l e t t e of Martinique and with patterns of colour arranged within abstracted forms. In Les Miserables (W#239) (1888) -the drawing of which Gauguin compared to the flowers i n a Persian carpet,- the colour i s no longer applied i n strokes but f l a t t e n e d masses, i n the s t y l e 54 of Japanese p r i n t s . As Gauguin moved further from the impressionist brush-stroke to a Japoniste conception of masses of colour, a sense of movement and d i r e c t i o n was imparted not so much to the brushstroke as to the contours of forms. In Les Miserables, masses of colour, because of t h e i r f l a t a p p l i c a -t i o n , suggest a s t i l l n e s s ; i t i s the drawing i t s e l f which creates a rhythm, and the bright contrasts of colour, a v i b r a t i n g q u a l i t y . The influence of Martinique i s an important consideration i n the develop-ment of Gauguin's s t y l e , a s s i s t i n g him towards a more abstract p o r t r a y a l of 34. nature. I t was thus due to Gauguin's Martinique venture that the influence of Japanese p r i n t s was t r u l y f e l t and manifested i n h i s work. In June, 1888 Vincent van Gogh wrote to Emile Bernard from A r i e s : ... the Japanese a r t i s t ignores r e f l e c t e d colours, and puts the f l a t tones side by side, with c h a r a c t e r i s t i c l i n e s marking o f f the movements and the forms ... S u f f i c e i t to say that black and white are also colors, for i n many cases they can be looked upon as c o l o r s , for t h e i r simultaneous contrast i s as s t r i k i n g as that of green and red,"for instance. The Japanese make use of i t for that matter. They express the mat and pale complexion of a young g i r l and the piquant contrast of the black h a i r marvellously well by means of white paper and four strokes of the pen. 55 Aside from the use of black and white, of bright colours f l a t l y l a i d , ' Vincent stressed the c l a r i f y i n g and expressive use of l i n e . He also hinted at t h e i r economy of means i n using less to say more. These Japanese character-i s t i c s became increasingly evident i n Gauguin's works a f t e r Martinique, when 56 he and Vincent were also i n closer communication. On July 8, 1888 Gauguin wrote to Schuffenecker from Pont-Aven, saying that he had f i n i s h e d a work about two boys near a r i v e r , w r e s t l i n g . He described i t as being "tout a f a i t japonais... Tres peu execute, pelouse verte et l e haut blanc.""^ A month l a t e r Gauguin wrote to Vincent about the same painting, claiming that he had exceeded a l l that which he had done up to the present. Describing the,composition and colouring, he stressed that i t 58 was l i k e the Japanese p r i n t s , underlining "sans execution": ... dans mes dernieres etudes j ' a i j e c r o i s depasse ce que j ' a i f a i t jusqu'a present...je viens de terminer une l u t t e bretonne que vous aimerez j'en suis sur. Deux gamins cale-con bleu et cale^on vermilion. Un dans l e haut a droite qui monte sortant de l'eau - Pelouse verte/veronize pur degradant jusqu'au jaune de chrome sans execution comme les crepons japonais. En haut cascade d'eau bouillonante blanc rose et arc en c i e l sur debord pres du cadre. En bas tache blanche un chapeau noir et blouse bleue. 59 35. Included i n the l e t t e r was a sketch of the painting Enfants l u t t a n t I (W#273). The boys appear etched into an empty, f l a t l y rendered green lawn; there i s an evident lack of d e t a i l and hence the p i l e of clothes i n the fore-ground appears abstracted. Although there i s a c e r t a i n p l a s t i c i t y conveyed i n the bodies of the boys by the minimal use of shading, t h e i r strong outlines create a sense of f l a t n e s s Later,.Lin November, 1888, when he had joined Vincent van Gogh i n A r i e s , Gauguin wrote to Emile Bernard about the question of shadows. He noted that the Japanese, who draw admirably, depict l i f e i n the open a i r and sunshine without shadows, using colours l i k e a combination of tones, diverse harmon-i e s , giving the impression of warmth. Gauguin t o l d Bernard that he himself withdrew as far as possible from that which gave the i l l u s i o n of an object; shadows being " l e trompe l ' o e i l " of the sun, he suppressed them: Vous discutez avec Laval sur les ombres et me demandez se j e m'en fous. En tant que quant a 1'explication de l a lumiere, o u i . Examinez les Japonais qui dessinent pourtant admirablement et vous verrez l a v i e en p l e i n a i r et au s o l e i l sans ombres. Ne se servant de l a couleur que comme une combinaison de tons, harmonies diverse, donnant 1'impression de chaleur, e t c . ... j e m'£loignerai autant que possible de ce qui donne 1 ' i l l u s i o n d'une chose et l'ombre etant l e trompe  1' o e i l du s o l e i l , j e suis porte a l a supprimer... 61 The.rrole of Gauguin's ceramics i s important i n the development of t h i s f l attened, s i m p l i f i e d s t y l e . As Bodelsen has c l e a r l y shown, " i n trans-f e r i n g a motif from a drawing, a p a s t e l or a pa i n t i n g to h i s ceramics," for example i n using a drawing of a Breton g i r l from the summer of 1886 f o r the glaze decoration i n a stoneware vase of the winter, 1886-87, "Gauguin i s 62 compelled greatly to s i m p l i f y both l i n e and colour." The glazed forms i n the vase c i t e d above have been outlined i n both black and gold, j u s t as the figures are i n Visio n apres l e sermon. In another stoneware vase of 1886-87 showing a p r o f i l e head and shoulder view of a Breton g i r l (which reappears 36. i n Gauguin's painting of La femme a l a cruche W//254 of 1888) he i n c i s e d the outli n e into the clay. This technique again contributed to h i s tendency to 6 3 ou t l i n e with paint onto canvas. The c o l o u r f u l glazes he employed also brightened his p a l e t t e . He describes the colours of h i s s e l f - p o r t r a i t Les Miserables (W#239) i n terms of glazes, a c o l l e c t i o n of pottery a l l twisted by the furnace, reds and v i o l e t s streaked by flames, l i k e a furnace: ... figurez-vous un vague souvenir de l a poterie tordue par l e grand feu! Tous les rouges, les v i o l e t s , rayes par les e c l a t s de feu comme une fournaise rayonnant aux yeux. 64 At the same time Gauguin's exposure to Bracquemond, the ceramicist and engraver, i s noteworthy. Bracquemond 1s incorporation of motifs and methods inherent i n Japanese art into h i s own work by way of sharply defined ( i n c i s e d or outlined), f l a t t e n e d forms probably influenced Gauguin's s t y l e as w e l l . ^ F i n a l l y , i n addition to s t y l i s t i c influences of Japanese a r t , the appeal of the Orient for Gauguin was strong. He drew analogies between Cezanne, whom he revered, and the O r i e n t a l mystic; he believed that Cezanne looked l i k e an old man of the Levant, had an Eastern nature, and spent whole days on mountain tops meditating: h i s colours were, i n Gauguin's opinion, grave 6 6 l i k e the character of Orientals and he was a mystic evenilin drawing. Hence the Or i e n t a l man was regarded :by Gauguin as one l i v i n g i n harmony with nature, expressing himself v i a h i s art through the study of and meditation about nature. In drawing the p a r a l l e l between Cezanne and the Or i e n t a l and i n i m i t a t i n g Cezanne's s t y l e and wishing to extract his secrets, one senses Gauguin's wish to think of himself i n a s i m i l a r fashion. Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo i n September, 1888: If we study Japanese .;,,art_>> we see a man who i s undoubtedly wise, philosophic and i n t e l l i g e n t , who spends h i s time "doing what? In studying the distance between the earth and the moon? No. In studying Bismarck's policy? No. He studies a si n g l e blade of grass. 37. But t h i s blade of grass leads him to draw every plant and then the seasons, the wide aspects of the countryside, then animals, then the human f i g u r e . . . Come now, i s n ' t i t almost a true r e l i g i o n which these simple Japanese teach us, who l i v e i n nature as though they themselves were flowers? And you cannot study Japanese a r t , i t seems to me, without becoming much gayer and happier, and we must return to nature in s pite of our education and our work i n the world of conven-t i o n ... 67 A few weeks e a r l i e r , Vincent had written of A r i e s , Here my l i f e w i l l become more and more l i k e a Japanese painter's, l i v i n g close to nature. 68 69 To h i s s i s t e r i n September, 1888, he maintained, "here I am i n Japan." 3. Gauguin's Quest for P r i m i t i v e Cultures and L i f e - s t y l e s i n . Martinique and Brittany Similar to Vincent's a t t i t u d e was Gauguin's wish to escape a c i v i l i z e d and corrupted world to f i n d an uninhabited, free and f e r t i l e land where he could take his paints and brushes and become rejuvenated. But despite h i s f e e l i n g s about the Orient he planned to go to Panama. In early A p r i l , 1887, he wrote to Mette, that he was going there to l i v e l i k e a native: ... j e m'en vais a Panama pour v i v r e en sauvage. Je connais a une l i e u e en mer de Panama une p e t i t e i l e (Taboga) dans l e Pacifique, e l l e est presque inhabited, l i b r e et f e r t i l e . J'emporte mes couleurs et mes pinceaux et j e me retremperai l o i n de tous les hommes. 70 It was not unusual for Gauguin to look i n t h i s d i r e c t i o n . His mother Al i n e Chazel came from a Spanish family which had s e t t l e d i n Peru. Between the ages of three and seven Gauguin spent four years (1851-1855) i n Lima. Entering the merchant marine i n 1865, he t r a v e l l e d to Rio de Janeiro and many other places u n t i l 1871.^ "'" From an early'age he had been exposed to pre-Columbian art through h i s guardian Gustave Arosa's c o l l e c t i o n s and 72 p u b l i c a t i o n s . One of the e a r l i e s t i n d i c a t i o n s of h i s i n t e r e s t s i n t h i s kind of a r t i s h i s drawing of a Peruvian motif, possibly a design for a 38. cupboard, of 1873. 73 In h i s carved wood cabinet of 1881 a s i m i l a r motif 74 His p ortrait-vase of a Breton g i r l of 1886-87 i s not unlike a appears. p r i m i t i v e p o r t r a i t vessel i n i t s form. 75 As i n p r i m i t i v e cultures, Gauguin modelled his ceramic pieces by hand, without the use of a potter's wheel. The Martinique experience was by Gauguin's account a most p o s i t i v e one i n a r t i s t i c terms; he wrote to Schuffenecker from Martinique i n September, 1887: Je rapporterai une douzaine de t o i l e s dont 4 avec des figures bien sup£rieures a mon epoque de Pont-Aven. 76 Vincent's and Bernard's views are revealed i n a l e t t e r of May 1888 from Vincent to Bernard: You are quite r i g h t to see that those Negresses [in Gauguin's Martinique paintings] were heart-rending. ... You are damned .; right to think of Gauguin. That i s high poetry, those Negresses and everything h i s hands make has a gentle, p i t i f u l , astonishing character. 77 In P a r i s , during the winter of 1887-88, Martinique figures continued to surface i n Gauguin's ceramics, as f o r example i n a portrait-head of unglazed 78 stoneware. Another j a r made at t h i s time shows a figu r e of a g i r l stand-ing i n a pose reminiscent, as Bodelsen points out, of those i n r e l i e f s from 79 the Baraboudour temple i n Java of which Gauguin had photos. Later i n Pont-Aven during October, 1888, Gauguin wrote to Bernard that he was i n c l i n e d to agree with Vincent and his view that the future belongs to the painters of the t r o p i c s which have not yet been painted: ... Je suis peu de l ' a v i s de Vincent l'avenir est aux peintres des tropiques qui n'ont pas ete encore p e i n t s . . . 80 Shortly a f t e r March 30, 1888, Vincent wrote to h i s s i s t e r from A i r e s : . . . there i s nothing that prevents me from thinking that l a t e r painters w i l l go and work i n t r o p i c a l countries. 81 When planning h i s return to Brittany, Gauguin wrote to Mette i n February, 39. 1888, t e l l i n g her that two natures dwelled within him, the Indian and the se n s i t i v e man, and i t was the Indian that was now going forward: I l faut te souvenir q u ' i l y a deux natures chez moi: l'Indien et l a s e n s i t i v e . La s e n s i t i v e a disparu ce qui permet a l'Indien de marcher tout d r o i t et fermement. 82 In the same l e t t e r he explained to her that he wished to penetrate the character of the people and the country. This he believed was e s s e n t i a l f o r good painting: Je dois p a r t i r j e u d i pour Pont-Aven et j'aime mieux rSpondre a ta l e t t r e maintenant que j e suis t r a n q u i l l e . Evidemment l e pays en hiver n'est pas tout a f a i t favorable pour ma sante mais i l : m e faut t r a v a i l l e r 7, 8 mois a l a f i l e , penetre du caractere, des gens et du pays, chose e s s e n t i e l l e pour f a i r e de l a bonne peinture. 83 Anatole Le Braz, a noted Breton scholar of the l a t e nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, described Brittany as a "solemn country, so sug-84 gestive of prayer and meditation." George Edwards claimed the region was " f i l l e d with legend and s u p e r s t i t i o n , " c a l l i n g B r i t t a n y : ...land of a t e r r i b l e coast, dotted with mysterious C e l t i c sphinxes; land of Calvaries, of dolmen, or cromlechs and alignments or D r u i d i c a l Menhirs; land of pardons and of peasants who pride themselves upon t h e i r ignorance of the French language; land of poetry and romance of the middle ages... 85 Edwards wrote, The people are intensely r e l i g i o u s of course, and they are never gay, even i n t h e i r fetes, for r e l i g i o n i s t h e i r passion and i t fl o u r i s h e s ... 86 Francis M. Gostling i n 1909 maintained: It i s impossible to understand these people without i n some degree p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n t h e i r strong r e l i g i o u s i n s t i n c t s . Religion i s to them a prime necessity as i t was to t h e i r ancestors before the coming of C h r i s t i a n i t y . . . I venture to say that i n no country today i s l i f e so governed by r e l i g i o n as i n t h i s l i t t l e western peninsula of France. 87 Henry Blackburn i n Breton Folk of 1880 ( i l l u s t r a t e d by Randolph Caldecott) describes the devout character of one such Breton woman: 40. At a side a l t a r of the chapel there i s a young face, very f a i r with large devotional eyes, deepened i n colour and i n t e n s i t y by her white cap; but below i t i s a s t i f f , shapeless bodice as hard as wood, and a bundle of lower garments p i l e d one upon the other... She i s on her knees ... working or pray-f -ing, half her young l i f e has been spent i n t h i s p o s i t i o n . . . 88 Blackburn wrote of "so many young faces clouded by su p e r s t i t i o u s awe": The saying would seem to apply to Brittany, that n a t i o n a l piety springs from a fountain of tea r s . 89 Pardons or once-yearly r e l i g i o u s ceremonies and celebrations were i n Gauguin's time and s t i l l are held i n churches, chapels and shrines, seldom 90 in l a r g e l y populated centres but rather i n the countryside. Edwards noted: Pardons, i t should be explained, are the yearly gatherings for r e l i g i o u s celebration of the day devoted to some s a i n t , generally i n the country at a fountain or a wayside chapel endowed with c e r t a i n miraculous c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . They usually begin with Vespers the night before the day of ceremonies, and the peasants gather i n crowds, sleeping i n the f i e l d s and hedges, and sometimes i n the churches where they chant the l i v e l o n g night. At daybreak they celebrate mass, then i n the afternoon there i s a grand procession with sacred r e l i c s and banners; a f t e r which they promenade, eat and drink, and f i n a l l y depart to t h e i r homes i n the evening. ...At some of the Pardons the ceremonies w i l l take place i n the evening at which a procession of strange f i g u r e s , often barefoot and at times clad only i n s h i r t s and bearing l i g h t e d candles i n t h e i r hands, w i l l march chanting along dark roads, amid a wailing chant from the kneeling pi l g r i m s ; at others there w i l l be a huge bonfire of brushwood l i g h t e d by a figure which s l i d e s down a rope from the steeple or tower of the church. 91 Edwards maintains that the ca l v a r i e s ( s i n g l e crosses with statuettes close by) were perhaps "the most supe r s t i t i o u s part of t h i s land of s u p e r s t i t i o n s " : Here, under our very feet , sleep generations of Bretons, and perhaps the huge, erect stones mark the tombs of C e l t i c Chiefs of bygone ages. F a i t h f u l to the i r t r a d i t i o n s , the peasants s t i l l p r a c t i c e strange r i t e s around these stones, and M. l e Notaire t e l l s me that sometimes at n i g h t f a l l , one may see, among the rocks, young married couples who come to pray at the menhirs, l y i n g upon t h e i r faces before the huge stones as d i d perhaps the Druids of o l d . . . 92 Ossuaries, or r e l i q u a r i e s - bone houses which were attached to churches or buildings i n the cemeteries, exerted an influence on Breton l i f e as w e l l : 41. This i s the country whose people s t i l l sing the grave and melancholy poems of t h e i r forefathers, solemnizing the c u l t of the early Bretons whose bones rest i n the magnificent ossuaries by the roadsides. "Christians come and pray where the bones of your parents whiten i n the r e l i q u a r i e s , come pray for the soul of those whom you have welcomed at your f i r e s i d e s , now bleaching i n the sun, washed by the r a i n , and stirred-fby the night winds." Thus runs one of the Breton c a n t i c l e s . 93 In addition, editors of the 1928 B r i t t a n y Blue Guide observed that a good deal of s u p e r s t i t i o n s t i l l p r e v a i l l e d " e s p e c i a l l y i n r e l a t i o n to the menhirs and domens of the province," the megalithic monuments e x i s t i n g throughout 94 the Breton countryside. As Edwards noted: The d i s t r i c t l y i n g between Pont Aven and Concarneau abounds i n megalithic remains, dolmen and menhirs... 95 For t h i s s u p e r s t i t i o u s country, the experiencing of v i s i o n s was not so unnatural a phenomenon. The Brittany Blue Guide reports: The c u l t of the dead i s almost u n i v e r s a l , and Death himself i s spoken of i n hushed tones as "Ankou," the driver;of a coach that picks up souls by the roadside. 96 Francis M. Gostling r e c a l l s : It was s t i l l e a r ly when we got out of the t r a i n at the l i t t l e s t a t i o n of B e l l e I s l e Begard. No sign of a v i l l a g e was to be seen... The road lay through a l a b y r i n t h of le a f y tunnels, bordered on e i t h e r hand ... now i t was grey-green and ghostly, a f i t haunt for the disembodied s p i r i t s which are supposed to frequent such places. ... One of the most noticeable things i n Brittany i s the intimate r e l a t i o n s that seem to e x i s t between the people of t h i s world and the phantoms who inhabit the Land of Shadows. 97 As evidenced by the number of a r t i s t s temporarily presiding i n Brittany during the l a t t e r h a l f of the nineteenth century, the appeal of these unique 98 surroundings must have been great. Indeed, the March 1894 issue of La Plume published a series of a r t i c l e s on Breton h i s t o r y , l i t e r a t u r e , 99 r e l i g i o n , art and customs by Gustave Geffroy, Anatole Le Braz and others. Aft e r a r r i v i n g i n Brittany i n February, 1888, Gauguin wrote Schuffenecker: 42. J'aime l a Bretagne ... j'y le sauvage, l e p r i m i t i f . Quand mes sabots resonent sur ce s o l de granit, j'entends l e ton sourd, mat et puissant que j e cherche en peinture. 100 In the same frame of mind, he informed Schuffenecker on July 8, 1888, that h i s own painting of the Breton boys wrestling near a r i v e r (Enfants l u t t a n t (I) W#273), discussed above, had been executed "par un sauvage du Perou. Later i n Aries Gauguin again noted that he was i n c l i n e d towards a p r i m i t i v e , - 1 0 2 s t a t e . Gauguin also strongly favoured the European " p r i m i t i v e s , " e s p e c i a l l y 103 Giotto and Fra Angelico. Gauguin admired the r e l a t i v e f l a t n e s s , s i m p l i -f i c a t i o n and plane-like arrangement of forms inherent i n t h e i r a r t - q u a l i t i e s 104 which he also found i n the work of Puvis de Chavannes. A conversation about Puvis' Poor Fisherman between Puvis and Gauguin which might have taken place as early as 1881, when the painting received poor reviews, was conveyed by Gauguin i n a l e t t e r to Andre Fountaines in£l889: ...Puvis de Chavannes me d i s a i t un jour; tout a f a i t a f f l i g e aiVla lecture d'une basse c r i t i q u e "mais qu'ont-ils done a ne pas comprendre? l e tableau - ( i l s ' a g i s s a i t de son pauvre pecheur) est cependant bien simple - j e l u i repondis. "Et pour les autres i l leur sera parle en paraboles a f i n quevoyant i l s ne voient pas, et entendant i l s n'entendent pas." 105 As Richard Wattenmaker has pointed out, Gauguin would no doubt have been acquainted with Puvis' work from the Salons, the Pantheon and the Sorbonne. He would also have witnessed exhibitions at Durand-Ruel's, including Puvis' 106 one-man show of 1887. No doubt h i s conception of Enfants Luttant (W//273', #274) was l a r g e l y influenced by the two naked wrestling boys i n Puvis' Pleasant Land of 1882. 1 0 7 Puvis had also once commented: "... I have t r i e d always to say as 108 much as possible i n the fewest possible words." This i n c l i n a t i o n towards abbreviation - inherent not only i n Puvis' work but also i n Japanese, 43. P r i m i t i v e and Pre-Renaissance a r t - exemplifies a lack of adherence to a l i t e r a l representation of nature and a r e f u s a l to submit to a doctrine of exact v i s u a l reproduction. Gauguin also perceived and respected these q u a l i t i e s i n Delacroix's a r t . 4. Gauguin's A t t r a c t i o n to Delacroix's Expressive Use of Line and Colour When Gauguin described h i s Enfants l u t t a n t (I) (W#273) i n 1888 as being " ( t ) r e s peu execute" and "sans e x e c u t i o n , t h i s i s a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c that he also applied to Delacroix's Barque de Don Juan which he discussed i n a l e t t e r to Schuffenecker of May 24, 1885. He quoted Albert Wolff (an unsym-pathetic c r i t i c of impressionist painters as well) who had written i n the Figaro that not one of Delacroix's pictures was a masterpiece - always incomplete: Et dire que M. Wolff a e c r i t dans l e Figaro que pas un tableau de Delacroix e t a i t un chef d'oeuvre, toujours incomplet d i t - i l . 110 Gauguin on the other hand maintained that Delacroix did well not to render forms i n archaeological exactitude, that Delacroix was not only a great draughtsman but an innovator; h i s stroke was a way of emphasizing an idea: ... i l a ma f o i bien raison de ne pas imiter Gerome, l ' e x a c t i -tude archeologue... Delacroix est non seulement un grand dessinateur de l a forme mais encore un innovateur, que l e t r a i t est chez l u i un moyen d'accentuer une idee. Du reste, cela ne s'expligue pas! I l l Gauguin described Delacroix's drawings as being l i k e the supple and strong movements of a t i g e r . One does not know where the muscles are attached i n th i s animal and the turn of a paw suggests the impossible, but nevertheless r e a l . In the same way Delacroix's arms and shoulders always turn back and i n an i r r a t i o n a l and impossible fashion, yet express r e a l i t y i n passion: Le dessin de Delacroix me rappelle toujours l e t i g r e aux movements souples et f o r t s . On ne s a i t jamais dans ce 44. superbe animal ou les muscles s'attachent, et l e s contor-sions d'une patte donnent 1'image de 1'impossible, cependant dans le r d e l . De meme chez Delacroix les bras et les epaules se retournent toujours d'une facon insensde et impossible au raisonement, mais cependant expriment l e r e e l dans l a passion. 112 Theophile S i l v e s t r e , i n Les A r t i s t e francais I Romantiques, also discusses t h i s q u a l i t y of exaggeration i n Delacroix's work: Delacroix ... semble d d s a r t i c u l e r a 1'occasion certains personnages, en vue de developper par des exagerations volontaires l ' e f f e t general d'une action dramatique. 113 The same exaggeration i s apparent i n Gauguin's figures, one good example being the enlarged feet of Enfants l u t t a n t (I) (W#273). As early as 1885 he pondered the expressive use of l i n e : ... J'en conclus q u ' i l y a des lignes nobles, menteuses, etc. l a ligne droite donne l ' i n f i n i , l a courbe,limite l a creation... Le t r i a n g l e e q u i l a t e r a l est l a forme l a plus s o l i d e et l a plus p a r f a i t e d'un t r i a n g l e . Un t r i a n g l e long est plus elegant. Dans l a pure v e r i t e i l n'existe pas de cote; a notre sentiment i l y a les lignes a droite vont de 1'avant, c e l l e s a gauche reculent... 114 The p r i n c i p l e of the curved l i n e corresponding with the f i n i t e and the s t r a i g h t l i n e with the i n f i n i t e had already been delved into by Charles Blanc, whose Grammaire des arts du dessin (1867) had also considered the idea of l i n e s expressing emotion?""'"^ Gauguin, i n the same l e t t e r , wondered why willows with hanging branches are c a l l e d weeping; i s i t because dropping l i n e s are sad? ... Pourquoi les saules dont les branches pendent s o n t - i l s appeles pleureurs? Est-ce parce que l e s lignes bais santes sont t r i s t e s ? 116 Furthermore, the sycamore i s sad.not because i t i s found i n cemetaries but because of i t s colour: Et l e sycomore e s t - i l t r i s t e parce qu'on l e met dans les cimetieres, non c'est l a couleur qui est t r i s t e . 117 Gauguin spoke of the power of colour on the eye, of noble and common tones, 45. of t r a n q u i l and consoling harmonies or bold ones; indeed, l i n e s and colour reveal the grandeur of the a r t i s t ' s character: ... I I y a ..des tons nobles, d'autres communs, des harmonies t r a n q u i l l e s , consolantes, d'autres qui vous excitent par leur hardiesse. En somme, vous voyez dans l a graphologie des t r a i t s d'hommes francs, d'autres de menteurs; pourquoi un amateur, l e s lignes et les couleurs ne nous donneraient-t-ils aussi l e caract&re plus ou moins grandiose de l ' a r t i s t e . . . 118 In speaking of Les Miserables (W#239) Gauguin himself asserts that the flaming colours indicate the a r t i s t ' s state of mind: La couleur est une couleur l o i n de l a nature; figurez vous un vague souvenir de l a poterie tordue par le grand feu! Tous les rouges, l e s v i o l e t s , rayes par les e c l a t s de feu comme une fournaise rayonnant aux yeux, siege des l u t t e s de l a pensee du pein t r e . 119 The l e t t e r from which the above passage i s taken was sent to Schuf feneeke'r" on -October 8, 1888 from Quimperle, Brittany, along with a l e t t e r from Vincent which Gauguin had j u s t received and which included the following d e s c r i p t i o n : J ' a i un p o r t r a i t de moi tout cendre. La couleur cendree qui res u l t e du melange du Veronese avec l a mine orange sur fond Veronese pale tout uni, a vetement brun rouge. Mais exagerant moi aussi ma personality, j'avais^ cherche plutot l e caractere d'un bonze simple adorateur de Bouddha e t e r n e l . 120 In Gauguin's next l e t t e r to Schuffenecker, he requested that Vincent's l e t t e r 121 be returned to him (Gauguin). Indeed, most of Vincent's statements about hi s own paintings i n Aries described them p r i m a r i l y i n terms of colour; i n a l e t t e r to Bernard from the f i r s t h a l f of August, Vincent elaborated about: ... a decoration i n which the raw of broken chrome yellows w i l l blaze f o r t h on various backgrounds - blue, from the palest malachite green to r o y a l blue, framed i n thi n s t r i p s of wood painted with orange lead. E f f e c t s l i k e those of stained-glass windows in a Gothic church. 122 There can be no doubt that Bernard would have shown these l e t t e r s from Vincent 46. to Gauguin as he did with Vincent's sketches accompanying the l e t t e r s . In a l l l i k e l i h o o d Vincent contributed to Gauguin's perception of colour and i t s suggestive a t t r i b u t i o n s ; he had written to Theo i n September 1888 -I do not know i f anyone before me has talked about suggestive colour but Delacroix and M o n t i c e l l i , without t a l k i n g about i t , did i t . 124 As w e l l , Vincent's a t t i t u d e towards anatomically correct drawing, expressed i n a l e t t e r to Theo i n July, 1885, reinf o r c e d Gauguin's views: ... I should be desperate i f my figures were correct ... I do not want them to be academically correct ... my great longing i s to learn to make those very incorrectnesses, those deviations, remodelings, changes i n r e a l i t y , so that they may become, yes l i e s , i f you l i k e - but truer than the l i t e r a l t r u t h . 125 Due to the expressive values assigned by Gauguin to l i n e and colour, together with an emphasis on t h e i r suggestive q u a l i t i e s , h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n 12 6 of nature became not only more abstract but above a l l - personal. 5. Gauguin's Wish to "Paint l i k e Children" In an undated l e t t e r written to Theo in August-September, 1888, Vincent 127 noted that "Gauguin and Bernard t a l k now of 'painting l i k e children'' •_"; It was not unusual for Gauguin to be speaking t h i s way, taking into consider-ation the emotional values he attached to colour and l i n e ; he quite obviously was not intere s t e d i n p i c t o r i a l representation or exact reproduction. Remembering Gauguin's f a s c i n a t i o n f o r p r i m i t i v e art i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to consider the l i n k Baudelaire draws between the "barbarie" and the "enfantine"; he ref e r s to what i s an i n e v i t a b l e synthetic, c h i l d - l i k e barbarism which i s often v i s i b l e i n a perfect a r t (Mexican, Egyptian or Ninevehite), which derives from the need to see things b i g and which must be considered above a l l i n terms of i t s t o t a l e f f e c t . (Interesting too was h i s observation that the a r t i s t s who are accused of barbarism have an eye for the synthetic and abbreviated.): Ce mot barbarie, qui est venu peut-etre trop souvent sous ma plume, pourrait induire quelques personnes a c r o i r e q u ' i l s'agit i c i de quelques dessins informes que 11 'imagination seule du spectateur s a i t transformer en choses p a r f a i t e s . Ce s e r a i t mal me comprendre. Je veux p a r l e r d'une barbarie ineVitr-' able, synthetique, enfantine, qui reste souvent v i s i b l e dans un art p a r f a i t (mexicaine, egyptienne ou n i n i v i t e ) , et qui derive du besoin de v o i r l e s choses grandement, de les consideref surtout dans l ' e f f e t de leur ensemble. I l n'est pas superflu d'observer i c i que beaucoup de gens ont accuse de barbarie tous 1 les peintres dont l e regard est synthetique e t abreviateur... 128 Children's books by Walter Crane, Kate Greenaway and Randolph Caldecott, which appeared i n Paris i n the early 1880's were e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y received by 129 Huysmans i n h i s Salon review of 1881. As we l l , the Gazette des Beaux Arts of the summer of 1886, before Gauguin's departure f o r Br i t t a n y , produced a lengthy a r t i c l e on Caldecott, mentioning h i s i l l u s t r a t i o n s for Henry 130 Blackburn's Breton Folk (1880). During the summer of 1886 A.S. Hart r i c k met Gauguin, who, according to the English painter's memoirs, was impressed with Caldecott's manner of drawing geese: He had been making some drawings of geese which he showed me. He then produced one of Caldecott's coloured books, i n which some geese were depicted i n the a r t i s t ' s very character-i s t i c way. These he praised almost extravagantly as i t seemed to me then. "That" he said "was the true s p i r i t of drawing." 131 If one compares a page with studies of geese from Gauguin's B r i t t a n y sketch-132 book of 1886 to one of Caldecott's i l l u s t r a t i o n s , s i m i l a r i t i e s i n t h e i r conceptions do e x i s t : the geese have been s i m p l i f i e d , executed with a few strokes and minimal shading. The rest of Gauguin's sketchbook also bears 133 some resemblance to Caldecott's simpler drawings i n Breton Folk. In ' Gauguin's paintings from 1886 (W//278 La Gardeuse l ' o i e s ) geese appear frequently i n an abstract and decorative fashion. The same i s true of h i s 134 ceramics during the winter of 1886-7 and 1887-8. The p a i r of geese drawn (along with others scattered around) on the back of the l e t t e r Gauguin sent to Madeleine, Emile Bernard's s i s t e r , i n October, 1888, i s very s i m i l a r 48. Indeed in pose, p o s i t i o n and st y l e to a p a i r by Caldecott. Not only Gauguin's geese but also h i s other animals - goats (Bord de mer W#217), cows (Vision apres le sermon), dogs (Les Trois p e t i t s chiens, W#293) and cats (Le P e t i t chat aux t r o i s pommes, W#294) - reveal the same simple, abbreviated c h i l d - l i k e rendering. In Le Peintre de l a v i e moderne Baudelaire describes a writer i n the act of creating: things seen are born again on paper, n a t u r a l and more nat u r a l , b e a u t i f u l and more than b e a u t i f u l , singular and endowed with ah enthusiastic l i f e , l i k e the soul of t h e i r creator. A l l the materials, stored by memory, are c l a s s i f i e d , ordered, harmonized, and undergo that deliberate i d e a l i z a t i o n which i s the r e s u l t of a c h i I d - l i k e perception that i s acute, and magical by an ingenuous force: Et les choses renaissent sur l e papier, n a t u r e l l e s et plus que n a t u r e l l e s , b e l l e s et plus que b e l l e s , s i n g u l i e r e s et douees d'une v i e enthousiaste comme l'ame de l'auteur. La fantasmagorie a ete e x t r a i t e de l a nature. Tous les materiaux dont l a memoire s'est encombree se classent, se rangent, s'harmonisent et subissent cette i d e a l i s a t i o n forcee qui est l e r e s u l t a t d'une perception enfantine, c'est-a-dire d'une perception aigu'e, magique a force d'ingenuite! 136 This c h i l d - l i k e perception also implies an innocent, "untaught" a t t i t u d e which Gauguin, with h i s i n t e r e s t i n Caldecott's books and in p r i m i t i v e a r t , 137 was s t r i v i n g to express by "drawing l i k e c h i l d r e n . " 6. Gauguin's Personal Interpretation of Nature from Memory as i t Af f e c t s His Art Af t e r Gauguin has joined him i n Ar i e s , Vincent informs Theo: Just now [November, 1888] [Gauguin] i s doing some women i n a vineyard, completely from memory ... 138 From Vincent's next few l e t t e r s one sees that Gauguin has introduced to him the method of painting from memory: 49. I have been working on two canvases. A memory of our garden at Etten, with cabbages, cypresses, dahlias, and fig u r e s , then a woman reading a novel i n a l i b r a r y l i k e the Lecture Francaise, a woman a l l i n green. Gauguin gives me the courage to imagine things, and c e r t a i n l y things from the imagination take on a more mysterious character ... Gauguin, i n spite of himself and i n sp i t e of me, has more or less proved to me that i t i s time I.was varying my work a l i t t l e . I am beginning to compose from memory, and a l l my studies w i l l s t i l l be u s e f u l f o r that sort of work, r e c a l l i n g to me things I have seen. 139 It i s not known f o r how long p r i o r to th i s Gauguin had been painting from memory but i t i s conceivable that Bracquemond i n 1886 had introduced Gauguin 140 to Lecoq de Boisbaudran's method of drawing from memory. Lecoq's book, / 141 L'Education de l a memoire pittoresque, o r i g i n a l l y published i n 1847, contained the steps i n memory t r a i n i n g ; Lecoq appealed to each student's i n d i v i d u a l nature, claiming "art i s e s s e n t i a l l y i n d i v i d u a l . I t i s i n d i v i d u a l -142 i t y which makes the a r t i s t . " He cl o s e l y linked memory and imagination: "imagination can only use what memory has to o f f e r her, producing,||like chem-143 i s t s from known elements, r e s u l t s completely new." Lecoq also believed i n the importance of f i r s t impressions: "I allowed them e n t i r e l i b e r t y to choose the impression that had most v i v i d l y struck them. In t h i s way I was enabled 144 to discover t h e i r differences of a r t i s t i c bent." In addition from at least 1885-6, Gauguin owned a "Turkish t r e a t i s e " which encouraged the a r t i s t 145 to r e l y on memory in his work. Certai n l y Gauguin did not follow any r i g i d rules i n memory t r a i n i n g but, as Vincent claimed, did compose at times from memory, and in so doing, used h i s own imagination - "things from the imagination tak [ing] on a more mysterious character ."^^ 7. Intentional Mystery and Ambiguity i n Gauguin's Work Gauguin's intention to impart a sense of mystery to his works i s evident i n the frequency with which he employed puzzling or hidden imagery. 50. The wooden box of 1884, on the front of which are carved b a l l e t motifs and on the sides of which are attached the Netzke masks, opens to reveal a figure of a dead woman carved i n r e l i e f with pieces of leather placed at her head 147 and f e e t . Bodelsen maintains that the box, executed by Gauguin i n Copenhagen, was i n s p i r e d by the oak c o f f i n s of the Danish Bronze Age, which were hollowed out of tree trunks, the dead body usually wrapped i n a cow hide with remains of leather (footwear) found near the f e e t . ^ ^ Although Gauguin may have seen these c o f f i n s i n the National Museum of Copenhagen, i t remains unclear as to why he would have chosen t h i s image i n the f i r s t place. It may have been a statement about h i s Copenhagen environment and h i s wife, Mette. Nature morte dans un i n t e r i e u r (W//176) of 1885, i n i t s ju x t a p o s i t i o n of dead birds i n the foreground with a s t i l l , s i l e n t group of people i n the back, betrays h i s a t t i t u d e towards his r e l a t i v e s , the r e s u l t of t h e i r lack of support i n h i s a r t i s t i c pursuits and t h e i r negative-, opinion of him as a 149 businessman, husband and father. Gauguin's acquaintances were often symbolically represented i n h i s works without acknowledgement ."''"'^  In h i s ceramics of 1887-8, Gauguin used double images which created a kind of ambivalence i n meaning; a j a r i n unglazed stoneware shows Martinique g i r l s , a peacock and f i s h , with a g i r l kneeling, holding a mirror, who at the same time occupies a space which can be interpreted as a nose above which two hollowed-out eyes stare vacantly out at the viewer."'"^"'" The heads of the Martinique g i r l s become part of the :headgear, the,, peacocks and f i s h are l i k e tattoos; a mustached, frowning mouth l i e s at the base of the j a r . Hidden masks or faces i n h i s compositions were a frequently used motif; i n Enfants  lu t t a n t (I) (W//273) a blurred p a i r of eyes, a nose and mouth appear i n the water to the upper l e f t ; i n Dans l e j a r d i n de l ' h o p i t a l d'Aries (W#300) of 1888 the bush in the foreground contains rather grotesque f a c i a l features 51. and the bench at the upper l e f t has the appearance of a b e e t l e - l i k e i n s e c t . In two works of 1889, P e t i t s bretonnes devant l a mer (I, II) (W//340-1) , e s p e c i a l l y i n the g i r l to the r i g h t , the aprons change into masks, the pockets becoming eyes, the folds along the bottom of the hem turning into large n o s t r i l s . It i s highly l i k e l y that i n such imaginings Gauguin was l a r g e l y influenced by Odilon Redon whom he greatly admired and whom he had most 152 probably met i n 1886 . at,~the l a s t Impressionist E x h i b i t i o n . Redon, i n a Salon review of 1868, had written: ... Some people i n s i s t upon the r e s t r i c t i o n of the painter's work to the reproduction of what he sees. Those who remain with these narrow l i m i t s commit themselves to an i n f e r i o r goal. The o l d masters have proved that the a r t i s t , once he has taken from nature the necessary means of expression, i s free, l e g i t i m a t e l y free, to borrow his subjects from h i s t o r y , from the poets, from his own imagination... While I recognize the necessity for a basis of observed r e a l i t y ... true art l i e s i n a r e a l i t y that i s f e l t . 153 Later i n Avant et Apres, Gauguin hinted, at t h i s aspect of i n t e n t i o n a l ambiguity: a o c f i t i c , perturbed about Gauguin's paintings asked to see hi s drawings. The a r t i s t refused, claiming that they were h i s l e t t e r s , h i s secrets; Gauguin maintained that he would reveal only what he wanted to revea l , that i t was the inner man one wanted to see: Un c r i t i q u e chez moi v o i t les peintures, et l a p p i t r i n e oppressee me demande mes dessins. Mes dessins! que nenni: ce sont mes l e t t r e s , mes secrets. L'homme pu b l i c , l'homme intime. Vous voulez savoir qui j e sui s : mes oeuvres ne vous s u f f i s e n t - e l l e s pas? Meme en ce moment ou j ' e c r i s j e ne montre que ce que j e veux bien montrer. Mais vous me voyez souvent tout nu: ce n'est.pas une raison, c'est l e dedans q u ' i l faut v o i r . 154 8. Gauguin's Meditative and Contemplative Approach to Art Les Miserables (W#239) i s t r u l y a p o r t r a i t of the inner man for Gauguin uses d i f f e r e n t elements within the composition to reveal h i s own character and state of mind; according to Gauguin's, l e t t e r to Vincent of September, 1888, the background with the " f l e u r s enfantines" represents the room of a young g i r l , the purpose of which i s " a t t e s t e r notre v i r g i n i t e notre v i r g i n i t e a r t i s t i q u e " As he indicated i n h i s l e t t e r to Schuf fenecker of October 8, 1888, • . L'impressionniste est un pur, non s o u i l l e encore par l e baiser^ putride des Beaux-Arts(Ecole). 156 Line and colour are employed i n a s i m i l a r fashion. To Vincent he wrote about t h i s abstract and symbolical a r t : Le dessin des yeux et du nez: semblables aux f l e u r s dans l e tapis persans resume un a r t a b s t r a i t et symbolique. 157 In his l e t t e r to Schuffenecker he r e i t e r a t e d the above: Les yeux, l a bouche, l e nez, sont comme des f l e u r s de ta p i s persan per s o n i f i a n t l e cote symbolique. 158 159 Les Miserables i n 1888 foreshadowed the p o r t r a i t - v a s e of 1889. His de s c r i p t i o n of the painting's reds and v i o l e t s being streaked by the flames 160 of a '..fiercely'burning furnace, becomes l i t e r a l f a c t i n t h i s vase with the e f f e c t that the f i r i n g has on the glazes. The streaked e f f e c t has been achieved by l e t t i n g the red glaze drip and run more or less f r e e l y . But most i n t e r e s t i n g are the closed eyes; l i k e the spectators i n V i s i o n apres l e sermon Gauguin shows himself i n a r e f l e c t i v e , meditative frame of mind. The vase i s a statement about an a r t i s t who i s more concerned with h i s innermost thought - more interested i n h i s own inner world than the r e a l external world. This idea was already evident i n Les Miserables: the p o r t r a i t of Bernard on the w a l l to the upper r i g h t shows the a r t i s t with h i s eyes closed. S i m i l a r l y these ideas are also found i n Bernard's s e l f - p o r t r a i t , "a son copaing Vincent," painted at the same time and containing a p i c t u r e of 161 Gauguin on the w a l l , with h i s eyes closed. That Gauguin and Bernard had 53. mutually agreed to use t h i s motif demonstrates i t s s i g n i f i c a n c e to both of them. The theme was employed by Redon, as exemplified in Marsh Flower 162 (c. 1885). In 1889 Gauguin described Redon as a dreamer, an imaginative being; dreams through him becoming a r e a l i t y by the p r o b a b i l i t y he i n s t i l l e d in them: Je ne vois pas en quoi Odilon Redon f a i t des monstres. Ce sont des etres imaginaires. C'est un reveur, un imagin-a t i f . De l a laideur: question brulante et qui est l a p i e r r e de touche de notre art moderne et de sa c r i t i q u e . A bien examiner l ' a r t profond de Redon, nous y trouvons peu l a trace du "monstre," pas plus que dans le statues de Notre-Dame... La nature a des i n f i n i s mysterieux, une puissance d'imagination. E l l e se manifeste en variant toujours ses productions. L ' a r t i s t e lui-meme est un de ses moyens et, pour moi, Odilon Redon est un de ses £lus pour cette contin-uation de c r e a t i o n . Les r§ves chez l u i deviennent une re"alite par l a vraisemblance q u ' i l leur donne... 163 As early as 1885 Gauguin, i n a l e t t e r to Schuffenecker, had also c a l l e d Cezanne a dreamer who spent whole days on mountain, tops, reading V i r g i l , looking at the sky, as someone who created a mystery in h i s forms, the back-grounds i n h i s paintings being equally imaginative and creative and h i s drawings mystical: ... i l affectionne dans l a forme un mystere et une t r a n q u i l -l i t e lourde de l'homme couche pour rever... i l passe des journdes entieres au sommet des montagnes a l i r e V i r g i l e et a regarder l e c i e l . Aussi ses horizons sont eleves, ses bleus tres intenses et le rouge chez l u i est d'un v i b r a t i o n etonnante. Le V i r g i l e qui a p l u s i e u r s , sens et que l'on peut i n t e r p r e t e r a volonte", l a l i t t e r a t u r e de ses tableaux a un sens parabolique a deux f i n s ; ses fonds sont aussi imagina-t i f s quy re*els. Pour resumer: quand on v o i t un tableau de l u i , on s'eerie "Etrange!" mais c'est un mystique, dessin de meme. 164 In the same l e t t e r , Gauguin advised Schuffenecker not to perspire over a p i c t u r e ; a strong f e e l i n g can be t r a n s l a t e d immediately, one has to dream about i t and seek i t simplest form: 54. T r a v a i l l e z librement et follement, vous ferez des progres et t6t ou tard on saura reconnaitre votre valeur s i vous en avez. Surtout ne transpirez pas sur un tableau; un grand sentiment peut etre t r a d u i t immddiatement, revez dessus et cherchez en l a forme l a plus simple. 165 S i m i l a r l y , Puvis had maintained: For a l l clear thoughts there e x i s t s a p l a s t i c equivalent. But ideas often come to us entangled and blurred. Thus i t i s important f i r s t to disentangle them,: i n order to keep them pure before the inner eye. A work of art emanates from a kind of confused emotion i n which i t i s contained as an animal i s contained i n i t s egg. I meditate upon the thought buried i n t h i s emotion u n t i l i t appears l u c i d l y and as d i s t i n c t l y as possible before my eyes. Then I search for an image which translates i t with exactitude... This i s symbolism, i f you l i k e . 166 And Redon, in A Soi-Meme had confessed: My contemplative tendency made my e f f o r t s towards an o p t i c a l system p a i n f u l . 167 This meditative approach to nature as opposed to a c a r e f u l observation and recording of l i t e r a l f a c t , r e i n f o r c e d by working from memory and by wishing to appear mysterious led Gauguin to write to Vincent in August, 1888: ... j e suis tout a f a i t d'accord avec vous sur l e peu d'importance que 1'exactitude apporte en art - L'art est une abstraction, malheureusement on devient.de plus en plus incompris... 168 As early as 1846 i n h i s Salon review, Baudelaire had maintained that art was nothing but an abstraction and a s a c r i f i c e of d e t a i l to the whole and that i t was important to concern oneself above a l l with masses: ... l ' a r t n'etant qu'une abstraction et un s a c r i f i c e du . d e t a i l a 1'ensemble, i l est important de s'pccuper surtout des masses. 169 In Japanese and P r i m i t i v e a r t Gauguin had found these q u a l i t i e s of abstrac-ti o n , a lack of d e t a i l and a synthetizing, a n t i - n a t u r a l i s t i c tendency. He wrote to Schuffenecker on August 14, 1888 about h i s recent experiments to say that Schuffenecker would f i n d i n these a synthesis of form and colour: 55. Mes derniers travaux sont en bonne marche et j e c r o i s que vous trouverez une note p a r t i c u l i e r e , ou p'lutot 1'affirmation de mes recherches antdrieures ou synthese d'une forme et d'une couleur en ne considerant l a dominante. 170 Gauguin admired Delacroix, Puvis, Redon and Cezanne for t h e i r personal • u-j.%. manner of expression, for t h e i r disregard for any doctrine or set rules established by the Academy or the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Gauguin, too, was i n c l i n e d towards depicting a " f e l t reality,'""''7"'" using his "inner eye""'"7^ 173 for the expressing of his "inner v i s i o n s " . In h i s l e t t e r to Schuffenecker he advises: Un c o n s e i l , ne peignez pas trop d'apres nature. L'art est une abstraction t i r e z - l a de l a nature en revant devant et pensez plus a l a creation qui r e s u l t e r a . . . 174 In the 1886 Gazette des Beaux-Arts the following passage appeared: Baudelaire, en ses c r i t i q u e s sur l ' A r t romantique, appelait sentiment de l a correspondance l e sentiment qui, dans les creations poetiques, nous f a i t decouvrir un parallelisme secret entre chaque etat et l'ame et un correspondant de l a nature inanimee. C'est ce sentiment, d i s a i t - i l , qui nous permet de pratiquer, au moyen des art s plastiques, une sorte de s o r c e l l e r i e evocatoire, et d e f i n i r 1'attitude mysterieuse que les objets de l a creation tiennent devant l e regard de l'homme. "Comme un reve est place dans une atmosphere coloree qui l u i est propre, de meme, une conception devenue composition, a besoin de se mouvoir dans un m i l i e u colore qui l u i s o i t p a r t i c u l i e r . I I y a un ton p a r t i c u l i e r a t t r i b u e a une pa r t i e quelconque v. du tableau, qui gouverne les autres tons ... Sous le s personnages, leur d i s p o s i t i o n r e l a t i v e , l e paysage ou 1'inter i e u r qui leur sert de fond ou d'horizon, leur vete-ments, tout e n f i n doit s e r v i r a i l l u m i n e r , 1'idee generale et porter sa couleur o r i g i n e l l e , sa l i v r e e pour a i n s i d i r e . . . Un tableau,. f i d e l e et egal au reve qui l ' a enfante, doit etre produit comme un monde." 175 Baudelaire was comparing dreams to painting, noting that j u s t as a dream I i s bathed i n i t s own appropriate atmosphere, so a conception, become composition, needs to have i t s being i n a s e t t i n g of colour p e c u l i a r to i t s e l f . A good picture, f a i t h f u l and worthy of the dreams that gave i t b i r t h , must be created l i k e a world. V i s i o n apres l e sermon was created i n t h i s s p i r i t . C. V i s i o n apres l e sermon as an Exemplar of Gauguin's A r t i s t i c Concerns In comparing the drawing for V i s i o n apres l e sermon with the f i n i s h e d painting one i s able to see how Gauguin treated h i s subject and to under-176 stand more c l e a r l y how the f i n a l work evolved. In the sketch Gauguin set out the basic structure of the composition - with the spectators arranged i n semi-circular fashion around the wrestlers; only three foreground figures are drawn i n , but the curved l i n e extending from the lower r i g h t across towards the upper l e f t suggests the p o s i t i o n of the others. The apple tree i n i t s en t i r e t y grows i n the same d i r e c t i o n as i n the painting;'*"^ Jacob and the Angel appear i n the same p o s i t i o n and occupy the same space also i n both sketch and f i n i s h e d work. In the sketch, as with the f i n a l p a inting, l i t t l e a t t ention i s devoted to d e t a i l with much empty space surrounding the s i m p l i -f i e d forms. In i t s f i n a l version V i s i o n apres l e sermon i s i n composition more t i g h t l y structured and i n s t y l e i s much more complex. The outlines are emphatic, c l e a r l y defining forms and r e s u l t i n g i n a stable and s t a t i c q u a l i t y . A s o f t , undulating rhythm i s created by the .rounded, curving l i n e s of the observers, t h e i r caps and costumes. The sharper and more pointed l i n e s of the wrestlers produce a sense of tension. More figures i n c l u d i n g a p r i e s t and a cow, have been added or s h i f t e d ; and the tree has become one long extended trunk, looking less l i k e a tree than i n the sketch, l e t alone an apple tr e e . A l l forms are touching, hence somehow connected. The icono-graphic reasons for these s h i f t s i n p o s i t i o n and emphasis as w e l l as the a d d i t i o n a l inclusions w i l l be discussed i n Chapter Four. Gauguin i n a l e t t e r to Vincent i n September, 1888, described V i s i o n  apres l e sermon l a r g e l y i n terms of colour (not an unusual thing to do, 57. considering that Vincent's own descriptions during t h i s time i n Aries focused p r i m a r i l y on colour): Des bretonnes groupees prient costumes noir tres intense. Les bonnets blancs jaunes tres lumineux. Les deux bonnets a droite sont comme des casques monst-rueux" un pommier traverse l a t o i l e v i o l e t sombre et l e f e u i l l a g e dessine par masses comme des nuages vert emeraude avec les i n t e s t i n s vert jaune de s o l e i l . Le t e r r a i n (vermilion pur). A 1'eglise i l descend et devient brun rouge. L'ange est h a b i l l e de bleu outremer v i o l e t et Jacob vert b o u t e i l l e . Les a i l e s de l'ange jaune de chrome 1 pur. Les cheveux de l'ange chrome 2 et les pieds c h a i r orange. 178 Gauguin i n h i s manner of i n t e r p r e t i n g the bonnets "comme des casques monstrueux" shows his lack of i n t e r e s t i n pursuing l i t e r a l f a c t and expresses his wish instead to exaggerate q u a l i t i e s inherent i n d i f f e r e n t shapes and forms. Along with t h i s l e t t e r Gauguin included a rough sketch of the f i n i s h e d painting which, j u s t as i n the drawings Vincent would send with h i s l e t t e r s , designated the colour of c e r t a i n forms: a bonnet marked "blanc" and two A •• • n 179 dresses - no i r . Gauguin's colour d e s c r i p t i o n c l e a r l y shows his preference for strong contrast, pure pigment and the f l a t n e s s . Due to the v i b r a t i n g q u a l i t y produced by these bright contrasts and also the emphatic o u t l i n i n g of forms, more than any other work i n Gauguin's oeuvre, V i s i o n apres l e sermon has a mediaeval stained-glass window q u a l i t y . As t h i s was his f i r s t r e l i g i o u s work and as i t was meant, si n c e r e l y or not, to hang i n a mediaeval Breton church, i t would not have been unusual for Gauguin to suggest the r e l i g i o u s aspect of the work through h i s use of colour, the colour of stained-glass windows. He wrote l a t e r to Theo, s t r e s s i n g the influence that surroundings would have on the .painting, that the work would not have the same e f f e c t hung i n a Salon as i t would around the windows and stones of a church: 58. Le tableau d'Eglise vous sera remis et vous pourrez le montrer. Malheureusement i l est p a i t pour une E g l i s e et ce qui va l a n'a pas l e meme e f f e c t dans cet entourage de vitraux, p i e r r e s , e t c . que dans c e l u i d'un Salon. Quoiqu'il en s o i t l e s t y l e en est l e meme. 180 The reasons for Gauguin's i n t e r e s t i n painting a r e l i g i o u s work w i l l be discussed at length i n the next chapter. S t y l i s t i c a l l y speaking, with the d i r e c t i o n h i s painting had taken, with h i s contacts and the influences mentioned above, i t was not unusual or extraordinary for Gauguin to have a r r i v e d at the use of a bright palette f l a t l y applied. Emile Bernard was also a c a t a l y s t for the expression of Gauguin's ideas - Bernard, l a t e i n 1893, maintained: L'etude des crepons japonais, nous menent (avec Anquetin) vers l a s i m p l i c i t e . Nous creons l e Cloisonnisme - 1886. 181 Bernard, l i k e Gauguin, was keenly intere s t e d i n mediaeval a r t ; Vincent had written to him from Aries at the beginning of August, 1888: At present you are studying the methods of the I t a l i a n and German p r i m i t i v e s , the symbolic s i g n i f i c a n c e which the abstract mystical drawing of the I t a l i a n s may contain. 182 Bernard's r e l i g i o u s i n t e r e s t s were indicated i n Vincent's e a r l i e r l e t t e r to 183 him of June 1888. " I t i s a very good thing that you read the B i b l e . " Bernard's art r e f l e c t e d these i n c l i n a t i o n s , as his r e l i g i o u s works, Adoration of the Shepherds (1885) and the C r u c i f i x i o n (1886) with t h e i r f l a t t e n i n g , 184 s i m p l i f y i n g , o u t l i n i n g tendencies show. Bernard's Les Bretonnes dans l a p r a i r i e , painted i n July, 1888, made a large impact on Gauguin, who took the work with him when he l e f t Pont-Aven for Aries i n November. Vincent, who executed a copy of i t , informed Theo: Gauguin brought a magnificent canvas which he has exchanged with Bernard, Breton women i n a green f i e l d , white, black, green, and a note of red, and the d u l l f l e s h t i n t s . 185 It was t h i s painting with i t s bright colours surrounded by dark o u t l i n e s , i t s 59. uniform background, i t s lack of shading or gradual t r a n s i t i o n of colour, and i t s overlapping of s t y l i z e d forms to designate p o s i t i o n i n space, which caused Gauguin to f l a t t e n h i s figures further and to employ contrasting pigments. Both h i s V i s i o n and Bernard's Bretonnes include figures i n a landscape with no horizon-line or sky depicted. Yet where Bernard's painting shows bird's-eye and ground l e v e l views, i n Gauguin's V i s i o n apres le sermon the juxtaposed figures follow a more coherently and l o g i c a l l y planned progres-sion back into space, not a jumping back and forth.. .As^noted i n Chapter ; One the viewer receives the impression of being behind the foreground figures and looking down further off not only towards the wrestling'figures but towards the other p a r t i c i p a n t s to the upper l e f t as w e l l . In contrast, Bernard's work displays very l i t t l e sense of space with i t s 'cut and pasted' cardboard-like forms. Hence although there are jumps frpm one group to the next from one plane to the other i n the Visio n there e x i s t s a s p a t i a l r e l a t i o n -ship between the foreground and background figures that does not occur i n Bernard's canvas. The same haphazard arrangement i s found i n Bernard's Buckwheat (1888) but at least here the people decrease proportionately i n si z e 186 towards the top of the canvas, creating a sense of distance. The .colour of the wheat indicates autumn, harvesting time when the buckwheat was i n fa c t red. Whereas Bernard j u s t i f i e s h i s red ground by adding harvesters Gauguin a l t e r e d that which he experienced i n nature to f i t his own purposes. The colour of the background i n Visio n apres le sermon i s an exaggeration of what Gauguin saw around him, providing a r i c h contrast to the more somber and calm colours of the Breton women; perhaps i t also suggested to him the i n t e n s i t y of the struggle between Jacob and the Angel. Bernard spurred Gauguin on i n the d i r e c t i o n he was already going but such conceptions as working from memory, dreaming or meditating i n front of 60. nature and s t r e s s i n g the use of the imagination as a strong c r e a t i v e force were a l l q u a l i t i e s and c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s already included as part of Gauguin's methodology and style'. Gauguin's V i s i o n apres l e sermon was h i s own v i s i o n of a v i s i o n . He f e l t that he had attained a r u s t i c and s u p e r s t i t i o u s s i m p l i c i t y i n the f i g u r e s . For him the landscape and the struggle i n the painting existed only i n the imagination of the people praying: to Vincent he wrote i n September: Je c r o i s avoir a t t e i n t dans les figures une grande s i m p l i c i t e rustique et s u p e r s t i t i e u s e . Le tout est severe. La vache sous l'arbre est toute p e t i t e par rapport a l a v e r i t e , et se cabre. - Pour moi, dans ce tableau l e paysage et l a l u t t e n'existent que dans 1'imagination des gens en p r i e r e , par su i t e du sermon. C'est pourquoi i l y a contraste entre l e s gens nature et l a l u t t e dans son paysage, non nature et disproportionee. 187 Because t h i s v i s i o n experienced by the peasants i n the painting was i n fact something experienced with and e x i s t i n g i n the imagination, having resulted from t h e i r ' f a l l i n g into a dream-like, meditative state a f t e r l i s t e n -ing to the p r i e s t , i t did not adhere to laws of nature. I t was, above a l l , a personal experience, created by the seers themselves, l i k e Gauguin's d e f i n i t i o n of art - an abstraction having r e s u l t e d from dreaming i n front of nature. I t was appropriate for Gauguin to have chosen to depict the v i s i o n 188 i n the personal manner that he d i d . On October 8, 1888, Gauguin informed Schuffenecker: J ' a i f a i t pour une e g l i s e un tableau naturellement i l a ete refuse, aussi j e le renvoie a Van Gogh. I n u t i l e de vous l e d e c r i r e , vous l e verrez. J ' a i cette anne, tout s a c r i f i e , 1'execution, l a couleur, pour l e s t y l e , voulant m'imposer autre chose que ce que je sais f a i r e . C'est j e crois une, transformation qui n'a pas porte ses f r u i t s mais qui les portera. 189 In s t a t i n g that he had s a c r i f i c e d a l l , execution and colour for s t y l e , determined to do something else than usual that would r e s u l t i n a transformation which would bear f r u i t - Gauguin was expressing a need to search for and 190 develop h i s own s t y l e . V i s i o n apres le sermon s i g n i f i e d t h i s personal approach; i n t e n t i o n a l l y he did not follow the t r a d i t i o n a l manner of depicting v i s i o n s . Nature i n V i s i o n apres le sermon had been re-ordered to f i t Gauguin's own purposes, i t s n a t u r a l i s t i c elements discarded, i t s forms s i m p l i f i e d and abstracted. By meditating i n front of nature and painting from memory, Gauguin had set down e s s e n t i a l s which to h i s mind were most s i g n i f i c a n t . V i s i o n apres le sermon, was above a l l Gauguin's own v i s i o n , the expression of h i s quest. Japanese and P r i m i t i v e a r t , with i t s abstracted and f l a t t e n e d forms, att r a c t e d Gauguin, as d i d the art of Delacroix, Puvis, Redon and Cezanne, with t h e i r expressive, suggestive use of l i n e and colour. In h i s opinion, t h e i r art conveyed a personal s t y l e and was f o r t u n a t e l y neither anatomically correct nor subject to any established doctrine. Gauguin's preferences r e f l e c t e d h i s own a r t i s t i c values. He dreamed i n front of nature l i k e the O r i e n t a l mystic, whom he equated with Cezanne; he painted from memory, from h i s own imagination, following his own way; i n reaction to his own corrupted society, he assumed an innocent, untaught a t t i t u d e l i k e that of a c h i l d or a p r i m i t i v e . Considering himself an Indian, a savage of Peru, wishing to escape c i v i l i z a t i o n , Gauguin went to Martinique and B r i t t a n y . He wanted to paint the character of the people i n Brittany, which he regarded as p r i m i t i v e , a country described as solemn, suggestive of prayer and meditation, a land f i l l e d with legend and s u p e r s t i t i o n , where the occurrence of visions was a n a t u r a l phenomena. With these attitudes i n mind he executed V i s i o n apres le sermon, a product of h i s own v i s i o n , i t s s t y l e r e f l e c t i n g d e f i n i t e personal a r t i s t i c b e l i e f . I t w i l l become evident i n the following chapter that, with h i s meditative 62. a t t i t u d e to nature and with his work, Vi s i o n apres le sermon, expressing the a r t i s t ' s inner v i s i o n , Gauguin's views represented a prevalent approach to art i n the l a t e r nineteenth century. Moreover, h i s opinion of himself as a mystic, dreamer, and follower of his own temperament, may be regarded as part of the concept of the a r t i s t as seer and i l l u m i n a t o r which was e s p e c i a l l y popular during Gauguin's time. I t was the p r i e s t with his sermon i n Gauguin's painting who i n i t i a t e d the v i s i o n - who i n s p i r e d the peasants to f a l l into a meditative, dream-like s t a t e . The p r i e s t ' s r o l e i s l i k e that of the a r t i s t i n the l a t t e r h a l f of the nineteenth century. The viewer of Visio n apres le  sermon stands i n close proximity to the foreground spectators; he i s also meant to be a part of the audience who witnesses the v i s i o n . The viewer of the work of art then i s also the viewer of a v i s i o n . I t w i l l become apparent that Gauguin regarded himself as a v i s i o n a r y leader and h i s a r t as a vi s i o n a r y experience - a view held of him by many of h i s contemporaries. 63. CHAPTER THREE: THE GENERAL ICONOGRAPHY OF VISION APRES LE SERMON A. Gauguin's Depiction of Jacob Wrestling with the Angel Compared to Other  Representations of the Same Subject P r i o r to 1888 V i s i o n apres l e sermon depicts Jacob and the angel at the height of t h e i r struggle: ... and a man wrestled with him u n t i l the breaking of the day. (Gen.' 32, v.24) Both are a c t i v e l y engaged i n the match. Their pose appears at f i r s t to suggest that the angel, with wings outstretched i n an overbearing manner, has an advantage over the crouching Jacob."'" Such an i n t e r p r e t a t i o n may, however, be misleading f o r , as i s the case i n a wrestling match, Jacob might indeed be better able to overthrow hi s opponent from t h i s " i n f e r i o r " p o s i t i o n . I t i s thus questionable who at t h i s point p r e v a i l s over whom. Gauguin was. no doubt aware of the ambiguity he was creating by representing a c r i t i c a l and c l i m a c t i c moment when neither wrestler could yet claim to be v i c t o r i o u s . In addition, i t i s u n l i k e l y that Jacob's thigh i s yet out of j o i n t f o r the angel would not be shown i n such a superior p o s i t i o n i f t h i s were the case. (It i s a f t e r the angel sees that he cannot p r e v a i l against Jacob that he touches the hollow of 2 Jacob's thigh and puts i t out of j o i n t . ) That Gauguin paints Jacob bending under the angel's grip suggests the power and the strength of the angel and the degree of d i f f i c u l t y i n overcoming t h i s adversary. But the fa c t that Jacob has a hold on the angel indicates that Jacob, not only u n w i l l i n g to give up, might be clever enough to emerge as the winner. In order to better understand Gauguin's depiction of Jacob wrestling with the angel and to better r e a l i z e what aspects of the story he wishes to empha-s i z e , his work w i l l be compared to some other representations of the same theme. 64. Two s i m i l a r C e l t i c stone crosses from the ninth century, one from the marketplace at K e l l s i n Ireland, the other from N.D.-la-Grande, P o i t i e r s , show two interlocked f i g u r e s , arms wrapped around each.other, heads on each other's shoulders, one foot extended forward, the pose of one wrestler echoing the 3 other, with no sense of struggle conveyed i n t h e i r s t a t i c upright poses. In both examples the angel lacks wings, i n keeping with the B i b l i c a l text, which 4 refe r s to Jacob's adversary as "a man". Consequently, i t i s not known which fi g u r e i s Jacob and which Ifigure i s the angel. Each cross simply depicts two highly s t y l i z e d , anonymous f i g u r e s . In Gauguin's painting, the problem of i d e n t i t y obviously does not a r i s e . AT','twelfthcentury Romanesque nave c a p i t a l at Vezelay (1106-1110) depicts Jacob on the l e f t , grasping a winged angel's cloak, who holds a sword and points heavenward as i f to the breaking dawn, r e c a l l i n g verse 26 i n which the angel asks that Jacob l e t him go for the day i s breaking, with Jacob answering, "I w i l l not l e t you go, unless you bless me.""* Both figures stand s t i f f l y upright with l i t t l e i n d i c a t i o n of struggle, l e t alone v i c t o r y or defeat on either s i d e . In contrast to Gauguin's more expressive version, here the c o n f l i c t i s merely hinted at through Jacob's hold of the angel's garment. In Rembrandt's version, painted between 1659 and 1669, Jacob, with h i s back towards the viewer and h i s arms gripped t i g h t l y around his a s s a i l a n t , holds the angel up i n the a i r . ^ The angel has his r i g h t hand placed on Jacob's upper back and h i s l e f t hand on Jacob's waist. I t i s possible that g Rembrandt has also chosen to depict verse 26. The angel's wings are out-stretched j u s t as i n Gauguin's work. Although one cannot see the expression on the faces of Gauguin's Jacob and the angel, both h i s and Rembrandt's portrayals reveal great exertion and an i n t e n s i t y of purpose on Jacob's part, as well as an o v e r a l l tenseness i n the struggle. 65. Claude Lorrain, i n h i s painting of 1672, depicts Jacob i n grey, the angel i n blue, standing side by side, with no sense of struggle conveyed: i t i s therefore very d i f f i c u l t to determine, f o r example, whether or not the angel has blessed Jacob. In any case, due to the dawn breaking, the observer at 9 le a s t r e a l i z e s that the end of the encounter i s at hand. Eugene Delacroix, who painted Jacob Wrestling with the Angel (1854-61) for the Chapel of the Holy Angels i n the Church of Saint-Sulpice i n P a r i s , presents the angel grasping Jacob's t h i g h . H e has painted the two figures at a point i n the story where the angel has r e a l i z e d that he cannot p r e v a i l against Jacob (v. 25). Again, as i n Gauguin's example, the encounter he depicts i s a very r e a l and ph y s i c a l struggle, with Jacob's whole body weight thrust forward. Gustave Moreau i n both h i s versions of Jacob Wrestling with the Angel depicts a very passive angel, leaning against a tree with her l e f t elbow on a branch, while i n front of her, Jacob, arms outstretched into space, struggles with a supernatural force."'""'" The angel i n the f i r s t version extends her righ t hand down, presumably toward Jacob's thigh; i n the second example, she places her r i g h t hand on Jacob's r i g h t arm. In both works the angel displays no e f f o r t i n contrast to the exertion of Jacob i n endeavouring to gain v i c t o r y . Again, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to a s c e r t a i n the exact moment of the story portrayed, although the sun i s seen r i s i n g . It may indeed be the same moment that Gauguin has chosen to depict but one i n which the angel seems more an observer than an active p a r t i c i p a n t in: the struggle. Hence, i n contrast to the passive poses of Jacob and the angel represented on the C e l t i c crosses and Romanesque nave c a p i t a l and i n the paintings by Lor r a i n and Moreau, the expressive pose of Jacob and the angel depicted by Gauguin portrays the p h y s i c a l nature of w r e s t l i n g . I t i s closer i n conception 66. to the versions by Rembrandt and Delacroix which demonstrate e x p l i c i t l y the c o n f l i c t between the two opponents. Yet i n contrast to Rembrandt and Delacroix who have apparently depicted s p e c i f i c verses i n the B i b l i c a l story, Gauguin has chosen to emphasize the a c t i v i t y of wrestling - as a cl i m a c t i c moment i n the struggle - at a point where neither wrestler can claim v i c t o r y . B. Wrestling as a Metaphor i n Gauguin's Own L i f e The idea of a struggle or a b a t t l e had s i g n i f i c a n c e as a metaphor for Gauguin's own l i f e s t y l e at the time he painted V i s i o n apres l e sermon. From the outset of h i s a r t i s t i c career he had met with disapproval from his wife, Mette, and her family. Gauguin wrote to Schuffenecker, from Copenhagen, May 24, 1885, that i n the eyes of Mette's family he was a monster not to be earn-ing money and that he had been reproached by h i s wife who believed that i t was because of his painting he was not an eminent stockbroker: ...naturellement pour l a f a m i l l e , j e suis un monstre de ne pas gagner, d'argent, a notre epoque on estime que c e l u i qui r e u s s i t ... [Ma femme] n'est pas amiable en ce moment. La misere l ' a completement a i g r i e surtout dans sa vanite* (dans ce pays ou tout l e monde se connait), et moi j e subis tous les reproches. Naturellement c'est a cause de ma peinture que j e ne suis pas un eminent boursier, e t c . . . 12 Af t e r deciding to leave Copenhagen for Paris i n June, 1885, with h i s son Clovis , Gauguin received a v i s i t from Mette's s i s t e r who could o f f e r only ' • • 13 c r i t i c i s m about h i s painting and ph y s i c a l environment. In May 1886, Gauguin wrote h i s wife s a r c a s t i c a l l y claiming that her s i s t e r , to console him, shouted from the rooftops that he was a miserable soul, that he quit h i s job and h i s 14 wife f o r h i s atrocious p a i n t i n g . Two years l a t e r , i n February 1888, when planning to return to Brittany from P a r i s , he wrote to Mette that she did not believe i n him unless he was s e l l i n g his work, that she cared too much f o r money.. S t i l l a year l a t e r he noted that should he get a job at two or four thousand francs there would be no complaint against him by her family. Yet he 67. c l e a r l y asserts that art i s h i s business. Hence the idea of representing a struggle on canvas p a r a l l e l l e d Gauguin's struggle with h i s wife and her family. Due to his a r t i s t i c pursuits and his i n a b i l i t y to earn a l o t of money, he met only opposition from Mette and her family. Yet as evidenced from his l e t t e r s to her, although often f i l l e d with b i t t e r n e s s , he struggled again and again to gain her acceptance. He endeavoured to gain her support, to make her understand h i s s i t u a t i o n , his aims and goals, to make her believe that as an a r t i s t he would succeed - f i n a n c i a l l y as w e l l . Yet he r e a l i z e d , too, that his l i f e as an a r t i s t would be an ongoing struggle, not only to gain the recogni-t i o n he was seeking, but p h y s i c a l l y and mentally to survive the economic hardships that he would encounter as a r e s u l t of h i s chosen career. Hence the struggle on canvas p a r a l l e l s Gauguin's a r t i s t i c struggle as w e l l . On May 24, 1885, near the beginning of h i s a r t i s t i c career, Gauguin wrote to Schuffenecker from Copenhagen about h i s e x h i b i t i o n being closed by o f f i -c i a l s at the end of f i v e days; he mentioned favourable c r i t i c i s m s being sup-pressed by newspapers; he spoke about the fear of the academic clique and the framemakers who believed they would lose t h e i r business i f they associated with Gauguin."'"7 In early A p r i l , 1887, on h i s way to Martinique, Gauguin wrote from Paris that h i s reputation as an a r t i s t was growing but that he sometimes 18 went three days without eating. In the l e t t e r to Vincent i n August, 1888, from Pont-Aven, i n which he described his l a t e s t painting, Enfants l u t t a n t (W#273), Gauguin wrote not only about exceeding that which he had done up to that time, but also about people there f i n d i n g him mad. He asserted that he needs a f i g h t , that a f t e r a l l he has pursued i n Pont-Aven, he can e a s i l y come out i n f r o n t . Je commence a reprendre l a l i b e r t e dans mes f a c u l t e s : ma maladie m'avait a f f a i b l i et dans mes dernieres etudes j ' a i j e cro i s depasse ce que j ' a i f a i t jusqu'a present. 68. Naturellement cette bande de mufles qui sont i c i me trouvent tout a f a i t fou et j'en prouve que je ne les suis pas - Je viens de terminer une l u t t e bretonne que vous aimerez j'en suis sur... ... J ' a i comme un besoin de l u t t e , de t a i l l e r a coups de massue. Apres toutes les recherches que j e viens de f a i r e i c i j e c r o i s pouvoir a l l e r facilement de 1'avant. 19 During the f i r s t h a l f of August, Van Gogh i n h i s l e t t e r s to Theo confirmed Gauguin's sentiments; i n discussing t h e i r tentative and hopeful plans to have Gauguin j o i n : Vincent i n A r i e s , the sense of an a r t i s t i c b a t t l e being fought by Gauguin was c l e a r l y revealed. From Gauguin himself not a word for almost a?month. I myself think that Gauguin would rather f i g h t h i s way through with h i s friends i n the North, and i f by good luck he s e l l s one or more p i c t u r e s , he may have other plans f o r himself than coming to j o i n me. But haven't I, with less desire than he for the struggle i n P a r i s , the r i g h t to go my own way? Nature and f i n e weather are the advantages of the South; but I think that Gauguin w i l l never give up the f i g h t i n Par i s , he has i t too much at heart, and believes i n a l a s t i n g success more than I do. 20 In one of these l e t t e r s , Vincent also discusses Zola's L'Oeuvre i n which the verbal image of wrestling with an angel appears as a metaphor for the a r t i s t l s struggle i n the creation of h i s work: Ah! cet e f f o r t de creation dans l'oeuvre d'art, cet e f f o r t de sang et de larmes dont i l agonisait, pour creer de l a chair, s o u f f l e r de l a v i e ! Toujours en b a t a i l l e avec l e r e e l , et toujours vaincu, l a l u t t e contre l'Ange! I I se b r i s a i t a cette besogne impossible de f a i r e t e n i r toute l a nature sur une t o i l e , epuise a l a longue dans les perpetuelles douleurs qui tendaient ses muscles, sans q u ' i l putvjamais accoucher de son genie... 21 It i s conceivable that Vincent wrote to Gauguin about Zola's book as well at the time when Vi s i o n apres le sermon was being painted. The l e t t e r to Vincent from Gauguin i n Pont-Aven, September, 1888, contains a description of V i s i o n apres le sermon, that Gauguin has j u s t completed; Gauguin says that he likewise, has i n a l l ways been wrestling, but 69. i s i n the mood to take a breath and for the moment sleep: S i vous connaissiez ma vie vous comprehdriez qu'apres avoir tellement lutte" (de toutes les facons) j e suis en t r a i n de prendre haleine et en ce moment j e sommeille... 22 A year l a t e r , from Pont-Aven, on September 1, 1889, Gauguin t o l d Schuffenecker: ... La l u t t e a Pont-Aven est terminee. 23 And to Bernard, early i n the same month, he confessed that there were moments of doubt, r e s u l t s always below what one dreamed about. He f e l t that the l i t t l e encouragement one received helped to drag one through the thorns; that one could only rage and b a t t l e with a l l the d i f f i c u l t i e s and when f a l l i n g , 24 t r y again, forever and ever. At bottom,^Gauguin maintained that painting 25 i s l i k e man, mortal but l i v i n g always i n c o n f l i c t with f l e s h . Therefore, from what has been noted above about his continual struggle to gain economic security and a r t i s t i c recognition, that Gauguin has chosen to emphasize the a c t i v i t y of wrestling and to suggest the idea of an ongoing struggle i n V i s i o n apres le sermon seems p a r t i c u l a r l y appropriate. Like V i s i o n apres l e sermon Gauguin's Les Miserables mirrors h i s state of mind i n 1888, but i n a d i f f e r e n t manner. Aft e r completing t h i s s e l f - p o r t r a i t , he wrote to Vincent van Gogh i n September, 1888,^ describing the image i n the following manner: Je me sens l e besoin d'expliquer ce que j ' a i voulu f a i r e non pas que vous ne soyez apte a l e deviner tout seul mais parce que j e ne c r o i s pas y etre parvenu dans mon oeuvre. Le masque de bandit mal vetu et puissant comme Jean Valjean qui a sa noblesse et sa douceur i n t e r i e u r e ... et que l a societe opprime, a mis hors l a l o i , c'est 1'image d'un impressioniste aujourd'hui... 26 On October 8, 1888, from Quimperle, Gauguin, i n a l e t t e r to Schuffenecker, mentioning that he had painted Vision apres le sermon for a church and that 27 i t had been refused, described Les Miserables at length. Van Gogh was most f a m i l i a r with the novel of t h i s t i t l e by Hugo and i n 1883 he had informed 70. his brother, Theo, from the Hague: I am reading Les Miserables by V i c t o r Hugo. A book which I remember of old, but I had a great longing to read i t again, j u s t as one can have a great longing to see a c e r t a i n p i c t u r e again. It i s very b e a u t i f u l , that f i g u r e of Monsieur Muriel of Bienvenu [Jean Valjean] I think sublime. 28 In Les Miselrables, V i c t o r Hugo records the l i f e of Jean Valjean, who was sentenced to prison for s t e a l i n g a loaf of bread i n order to feed h i s s i s t e r ' s 29 seven c h i l d r e n . A f t e r "nineteen years of torture and slavery" he returned into a society that did not. accept him because of h i s prison record; hence he 30 began to s t e a l . Shortly a f t e r taking s i l v e r from the bishop and a f o r t y -sous piece from a l i t t l e boy, he underwent a s p i r i t u a l struggle and had a v i s i o n , to become i n due course Monsieur Madeleine, mayor of M.-sur-M, a kind 31 of saviour for the people. Gauguin saw himself as Jean Valjean, and p a r a l l e l l e d h i s a r t i s t i c struggle with Jean Valjean's s p i r i t u a l one; both were misunderstood and rejected by s o c i e t y . Jean Valjean escaped to a monastery i n order to survive, Gauguin departed to B r i t t a n y . In his l e t t e r to Vincent (September, 1888) Gauguin had compared Jean Valjean to the impressionist, both of whom society opposed. In the October 8, 1888 l e t t e r to Schuffenecker, Gauguin r e f e r r e d to the impres-s i o n i s t as one who was pure and innocent, not yet s u l l i e d by the p u t r i d k i s s of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. For Gauguin, having exhibited i n the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th impressionist shows of 1880, 1881, 1882 and 1886 r e s p e c t i v e l y , impressionism did not represent a d e f i n i t e doctrine or clear-cut movement to follow but was a reaction against any established, t r a d i t i o n a l norms, an 32 altogether new research, absolutely removed from anything mechanical. This b e l i e f i n following his own way, exemplifying his strong independent nature, i s expressed by Gauguin i n Avant et Apres where he writes of following h i s own nature: when a man says to him he must, Gauguin rebels, when his 71. nature says the same thing, he y i e l d s , knowing he i s beaten. Like Jean Valjean i n Les Miserables, Gauguin f e l t a strong sense of duty attached to h i s b e l i e f s . From P a r i s on November 24, 1887, he wrote that the duty of an a r t i s t was to work to become strong: ... Le devoir d'un a r t i s t e c'est de t r a v a i l l e r pour devenir f o r t . . . 34 On December 6 of the same year, Gauguin had predicted with self-assurance, that although i t would be d i f f i c u l t , i t would not be impossible that one day he would be in the p o s i t i o n that he deserved: ... .Quoique ce s o i t d i f f i c i l e i l est impossible qu'un jour j'occupe l a place que j e men' r.e. 35 In l i g h t of Gauguin's all-encompassing struggle to gain recognition i n the art world then, i t seems most appropriate that Gauguin chose to emphasize the aspect of wrestling i n V i s i o n apres le sermon and to depict Jacob and the angel at a point i n t h e i r match when neither could yet claim to be triumphant over the other. Gauguin, struggling as an a r t i s t , had not yet attained the economic and emotional security he was seeking, nor had he reached the l e v e l of recognition and popularity towards which he aspired. And yet, as noted above, Gauguin o p t i m i s t i c a l l y looked ahead to being i n the p o s i t i o n he f e l t he deserved. He believed i n h i s own eventual success. As w e l l , he i d e n t i f i e d strongly with Jean Valjean of Les Miserables who had been condemned by society but was eventually considered.a true s p i r i t u a l leader. Thus i t i s highly suitable that Gauguin should i n addition have, depicted Jacob i n a unseemingly advantageous p o s i t i o n , one which would lead to h i s v i c t o r y and eventual leadership - the p o s i t i o n Gauguin was seeking for himself. C. Gauguin as A r t i s t i c and S p i r i t u a l Leader i n His Own Community Afte r receiving Gauguin's d e s c r i p t i o n of the Les Miserables s e l f - p o r t r a i t , Vincent informed his brother Theo*. 72. Enclosed a very, very remarkable l e t t e r from Gauguin. Do put i t on one side as a thing of extraordinary importance. I mean his description of himself, which moves me to the depths of my soul. 36 Vincent then continued discussing the proposal to have Gauguin j o i n him i n A r i e s : Do you r e a l i z e that i f we get Gauguin, we are at the beginning of a very great thing, which w i l l open a new era for us. ... His coming w i l l a l t e r my manner of painting and I s h a l l gain by i t I b e l i e v e . . . If Gauguin gives h i s work to you, o f f i c i a l l y because you are with the Goupils and p r i v a t e l y as your f r i e n d and under an o b l i g a t i o n to you, then i n return Gauguin can consider himself head of the studio, and control the money as he thinks f i t . . . But the more Gauguin r e a l i z e s that when he j o i n s us he w i l l have the standing of head of the studio, the sooner he w i l l get better, and the more eager he w i l l be to work. ... i f i t catches on so that Laval and Bernard w i l l r e a l l y come, Gauguin and not I w i l l be the head of the studio... ... Bernard's l e t t e r i s once more fulliyof h i s conviction that Gauguin i s a very great master, and a man absolutely superior i n character and i n t e l l e c t . 37 On the same day that he received Gauguin's "Les Mis£rables l e t t e r , " Vincent wrote back to Gauguin, saying that he kept thinking about the plan to found a studio which the two of them could turn into a refuge for comrades encoun-38 tering a setback i n t h e i r a r t i s t i c struggles. Vincent gave an account of hi s own s e l f - p o r t r a i t , aiming at the character of a simple bonze worshipping the E t e r n a l Buddha while noting that he believed h i s own a r t i s t i c conceptions to be extremely ordinary compared to Gauguin's: Je trouve excessivement communes mes conceptions a r t i s t i q u e s en comparaison des votres. 39 It was as i f Van Gogh saw Gauguin as the Buddha, the s p i r i t u a l leader. He r e f e r r e d to Gauguin as head of the studio: Je c r o i s , que s i des maintenant, vous commenciez a vous s e n t i r l e chef de cet a t e l i e r , dont nous chercherons a. f a i r e un a b r i pour p l u s i e r s , peu a peu... 40-1 In Avant et Apr£s Gauguin wrote that he had undertaken the task of enlighten-ing Vincent when j o i n i n g him i n Ar i e s : J'entrepris l a tache de 1'dclairer...,Des ce jour mon Van Gogh f i t des progres etonnants... Van Gogh ... a trouve de moi un ensignement fecond. 42 Whether or not much truth e x i s t e d i n Gauguin's assertion i t demonstrated h i s own opinion of himself, of how he wished to be regarded. No doubt these f e e l -ings were nourished by Vincent i n h i s b e l i e f that Gauguin was t r u l y the master 43 and leader. Laval, also, was r e f e r r e d to by Vincent as Gauguin's p u p i l . Yet Vincent was not alone i n h i s admiration for the a r t i s t . As Piss a r r o ' l e t t e r of January 22, 1887 to h i s son, Lucien, i n d i c a t e s , Gauguin had quite a following i n Pont-Aven already a year e a r l i e r : ... I did hear that t h i s summer at the seashore he l a i d down the law to a group of young d i s c i p l e s , who hung on the words of the master, that austere s e c t a r i a n . At any rate, i t must be admitted that he has f i n a l l y acquired great influence. This comes of course from years of hard work and meritorious work - as a sectarian! 44 Schuffenecker's opinion of Gauguin i s quoted i n Pissarro's l e t t e r of the same year (May 20, 1887): You w i l l see for yourself what enormous progress Gauguin has made. I have j u s t come from the country. Gauguin i s absolutely taking t h i s d i r e c t i o n , .he i s a proud painter and he has an iron w i l l . He w i l l be talked about. 45 Bernard's high opinion of Gauguin i s r e f l e c t e d i n Vincent's l e t t e r s to Theo; a f t e r September 17, 1888, Vincent notes: In h i s l e t t e r Bernard speaks of Gauguin with great respect and sympathy, and I am sure that they understand one another. And I r e a l l y think that Gauguin has done Bernard good. 46 Today while I was working I thought a l o t about Bernard. His l e t t e r i s steeped i n admiration f o r Gauguin's t a l e n t . He says 74. that he thinks him so great an a r t i s t that he i s almost a f r a i d and that he finds everything that he does himself poor i n comparison with Gauguin. ... he f e e l s a f r a i d i n front of Gauguin. 47 Later in 1888, a f t e r the painting of V i s i o n apres l e sermon, Gauguin instru c t e d Paul Serusier at Pont-Aven with a painting which became known as the T a l i s -man; according to Maurice Denis i n ABC de l a peinture Gauguin had asked: "Comment voyez-vous ces arbres? I l s sont jaunes: eh biens, mettez de jaune: cetter ombre plutot bleue, peignes-la avec de l'outremer pur; ces f e u i l l e s 48 rouges? metez du vermilion." Denis had l a t e r written i n Mercure de France (January, 1904): ... I maintain that i t was the work of Gauguin, transmitted to us by Serusier, that was the decisive influence on Ibels, Ranson and myself at the Academie J u l i a n . I t was Gauguin who, for us, was The Master. 49 Gauguin was aware of and encouraged these sentiments; no doubt they contributed to and reinforced h i s sense of s e l f - h i s b e l i e f that he indeed was the leader. To Mette, as early as July, 1886, Gauguin had claimed that people from other countries as w e l l , respected him as the best painter i n Pont-Aven, that everyone there sought h i s opinion: Je t r a v a i l l e i c i beaucoup et avec succes on me respecte comme l e peintre l e plus f o r t de Pont-Aven ... tout l e monde i c i (Americains, Anglais, Suedois, Francais) se disputent mon c o n s e i l . . . 50 Two years l a t e r , on July 15, 1888, Gauguin mentioned r e c e i v i n g l e t t e r s from people reputed to be i n t e l l i g e n t and f u l l of admiration f o r him: J ' a i p a r - c i par l a quelques l e t t r e s de personnes reputees i n t e l l i g e n t e s , pleines de sympathie, d'admiration pour moi, etc... 51 In a l e t t e r to Schuffenecker written during the painting of V i s i o n apres le  sermon, Gauguin r e f e r r e d to Bernard as h i s new p u p i l i n the growing c i r c l e i n Pont-Aven: 75. J ' a i commence un eleve qui marchera: l a bande augmente. Le p e t i t Bernard est i c i . . . 52 Indeed, i n his r o l e as leader, Gauguin never sought advice himself but 53 r e a d i l y gave i t . Later from T a h i t i , i n 1892, Gauguin wrote to Mette that he had been the creator of the new movement i n painting, that he had shaped the young a r t i s t s , that nothing came from them, except through him: ... Ce mouvement j e l ' a i cree en peinture et beaucoup de jeunes gens en p r o f i t e n t non pas sans ta l e n t mais encore une f o i s c'est moi qui les a i formes. Et r i e n en eux ne vient d'eux, cel a vient de m o i . 5 4 Gauguin also regarded himself as a s p i r i t u a l as well as an a r t i s t i c leader. In h i s opinion, a r t i s t s held a s p e c i a l r o l e ; they formed the f i n e s t part of the nation, l i v i n g , f r u c t i f y i n g , stimulating progress and enriching the country. In February, 1888, he wrote to Mette: Et quelle est l a plus b e l l e p a r t i e de l a nation vivante, f r u c t i f i a n t , amenant l e progres, enrichissant le pays? C'est l ' a r t i s t e . 55 In h i s l e t t e r to Schuffenecker on August 14, 1888, Gauguin spoke i n the manner of a s p i r i t u a l leader, maintaining that the only way to ascend,towards God, was to create l i k e the Divine Master, by not painting too much d i r e c t l y from nature but by dreaming i n front of i t and thinking about the creation that would r e s u l t : ... Un c o n s e i l , ne peignez pas trop d'apres nature. L'art est une abstraction t i r e z - l a de l a nature en revant devant et pensez plus a l a creation qui r e s u l t e r a , c'est l e seul moyen de monter vers Dieu en faisant comme notre Divin Maitre, creer. 56 He even gave Schuffenecker a blessing, wishing him courage, hoping that God would take him into h i s holy keeping by crowning his e f f o r t s : ... Allons bon courage, que Dieu vous prenne en sa sainte garde en couronnant vos e f f o r t s . 57 . • A further reinforcement of t h i s r e l i g i o u s tone came on October 16, 1888, from Quimperle, i n a l e t t e r to Schuffenecker: Gauguin referred to h i s own mysticism, of being true to that which i s fundamental i n his nature, moreover, of always being r i g h t i n matters of a r t : Que me parlez-vous de mon mysticisme t e r r i b l e ... mais e l l e est au fond dans ma nature et i l faut toujours suivre son temperament... Vous sayez bien qu'en a r t , j ' a i toujours raison dans l e fond. Faites y bien attention, i l c i r c u l e en ce moment parmi les a r t i s t e s , un vent favorable tres prononce pour moi. 58 One i s reminded of Gauguin's opinion of Cezanne as a mystic expressed three years e a r l i e r . There i s l i t t l e doubt then that Gauguin was regarded and regarded himself as a s p i r i t u a l and a r t i s t i c leader among a number of a r t i s t s of his time. It w i l l be argued l a t e r i n the thesis that h i s p o s i t i o n i n t h i s r o l e i s r e f l e c t e d i n h i s choice of two s p i r i t u a l leaders - Jacob and the p r i e s t - a s key subjects i n V i s i o n apres l e sermon. D. The Concept of Painter as Poet Vincent's l e t t e r of September, 1888, to Gauguin also included a descrip-t i o n of a painting for Gauguin's room i n A r i e s : Pour l a chambre ou vous logerez j ' a i expres f a i t une decoration, l e j a r d i n d'un poete (dans les croquis qu'a Bernard i l y en a une premiere conception s i m p l i f i e e ensuite). Le Banal j a r d i n public renferme des plantes et buissons qui font rever aux paysages ou l'on se represente v o l o n t i e r s B o t t i c e l l i , Giotto, Petrarque, l e Dante et Boccace. Dans l a decoration j ' a i thefcheiax demeler l ' e s s e n t i e l de ce qui constitue l e charactere immuable du pays. Et j'eusse voule peindre ce j a r d i n de t e l l e facon que l'on penserait a l a f o i s au vieux poete d ' i c i (ou plutot d'Avignon) Pdtrarque et au nouveau poete d ' i c i - Paul Gauguin. 60 Vincent emphasized that the decoration he had made for Gauguin's room was a poet's garden; the public garden i n Aries made one imagine the presence of B o t t i c e l l i , Giotto, Petrarch, Dante, Bocaccio; what Vincent was s t r i v i n g f o r in h i s painting of the garden was to evoke an asso c i a t i o n between the old poet, Petrarch, and the new poet, Gauguin. Vincent wrote often about the renaissance i n painting he believed was occurring. He very important f i g u r e i n t h i s new renaissance - a poet Later i n Avant et Apres Gauguin was to remark "Femme, q u ' y - a - t - i l de commun entre nous: les enfants!!! Ce sont mes d i s c i p l e s , ceux de l a deuxieme „62 renaissance. Gauguin wrote to Vincent i n September, 1888, about the poetic i n paint-ing, and revealed that the two a r t i s t s had had previous discussions about t h i s concept. Gauguin notes that Vincent i s r i g h t to want poetic ideas from painting with suggestive colour but that he, himself, finds everything poetic and that i t i s the corners of h i s heart where he glimpses poetry. Forms and colours produce i n themselves a poetry. In front of someone else's p i c t u r e , Gauguin f e e l s a sensation which induces a poetic state, dependent upon the i n t e l l e c t u a l forces of the painter from whom i t i s released: Oui vous avez raison de v o u l o i r de l a peiriture avec une col o r a t i o n suggestive d'iddes podtiques et en sens , j e suis d'accord avec vous avec une di f f e r e n c e , j e ne connais pas d'idees poetiques, c'est probablement un sens qui me manque. Je trouve tout poetique et c'est dans les coins de mon coeur qui sont p a r f o i s myste'rieux que j'entrevois l a po£sie. Les formes et les couleurs conduites en harmonies produisent d ' e l l e s memes une poesie. Sans me l a i s s e r surprendre par l e motif j e ressens devant l e tableau d'un autre une sensation qui m'amene & un £tat poetique selon que les forces i n t e l -l e c t u e l l e s du peintre s'en degagent. 63 S i m i l a r l y , i n his "Oeuvre et v i e d'Eugene Delacroix" of 1864, Baudelaire contended that even those works of Delacroix chosen from amongst the minor or i n f e r i o r ones r e c a l l e d to mind the greatest sum of poetic f e e l i n g s : ... c e l u i dont les oeuvres, c h o i s i s meme parmi les secondaires et l e s inf£rieures, font l e plus penser, et rappellent a l a memoire l e plus de sentiments et de pensees poetiques deja connus... 64 considered Gauguin a l i k e Petrarch. 78. It w i l l be remembered that Gauguin c a l l e d Delacroix a poet and an inno-vator i n a l e t t e r to Schuffenecker of May 25, 1885: ... pas marin Monsieur.Delacroix, mais aussi quel poete... Delacroix est non seulement un grand dessinateur de l a forme mais encore un inhovateur... 65 Baudelaire maintained that Delacroix was the archetype of the painter-poet , noting that h i s imagination never feared to scale the d i f f i c u l t heights of r e l i g i o n . ^ Baudelaire i n describing the works i n the Chapel of the Holy Angels at St. Sulpice i n P a r i s , one of which was Delacroix's Jacob Wrestling  with the Angel, maintained that never before had the a r t i s t exhibited drawing more v o l u n t a r i l y epic, colour more knowingly supernatural.^ 7 On October 16, 1888, discussing h i s own mysticism (see p. 76 above), Gauguin c a l l e d himself a poet, r e a l i z i n g that he would be understood le s s and le s s by the masses for whom he was to remain an enigma, whereas for a few he would be a poet: Je sais bien que l'on me comprendra de moins en moins. Qu'importe s i j e m'eloigne des autres, pour l a masse j e s e r a i un rebus, pour quelques uns j e s e r a i un poete, et tot ou tard l e bon prend sa place. 68 In r e f e r r i n g to h i s own mysticism and to himself as a poet, Gauguin touches upon the phenomena of the poet as a mystic. E. Poet as Visionary . • , The concept of the poet as s p i r i t u a l leader and v i s i o n a r y was prevalent i n Gauguin's time. Writing about the Exposition U n i v e r s e l l e of 1855, Baudelaire had asserted that in"the poetic and a r t i s t i c order, the true prophet r a r e l y had a precursor; the a r t i s t stemmed only from himself; he was h i s own king, h i s own p r i e s t , h i s own God: Dans l'ordre poe"tique et a r t i s t i q u e , tout revelateur a 'rarement un pr£curseur. Toute f l o r a i s o n est spontanee, 79. i n d i v i d u e l l e . . . L ' a r t i s t e ne releve que de lui-meme. II ne promet aux s i e c l e s a venir que ses propres oeurvres. II a £te" son r o i , son p r i t r e et son Dieu. 69 Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1901) described Baudelaire as "the f i r s t seer, king of poets, a true god."^ At the age of sixteen, i n 1870, he wrote to Demeny, a school f r i e n d , about the duty of a poet: ... you have to be a seer, make yourself a seer. 71 Baudelaire wrote of Edgar A l l e n Poe: Edgar Poe n'est pas specialement un poete et un romancier; i l est poete, romancier et philosophe. II porte l e double charactere de l 1 illumine" et du savant. 72 In the Poetic P r i n c i p l e , Poe maintained: I need scarcely observe that a poem deserves i t s t i t l e only inasmuch as i t excites, by elevating the so u l . . . 73 ... the manifestation of the P r i n c i p l e i s always found i n an elevating excitement of the soul - quite independent of that passion which i s the i n t o x i c a t i o n of the Heart - or of that Truth which i s the s a t i s f a c t i o n of the Reason. 74 Poe f e l t that A l f r e d Tennyson was the noblest poet who ever l i v e d : I c a l l him, and think him the noblest of poets - not because the impressions he produces are, at a l l times, the most profound - not because the p o e t i c a l excitement which he induces i s , at a l l times, the most intense - but because i t i s , at a l l times, the most ethereal - i n other words, the most elevating and the most pure. No poet i s so l i t t l e of the. earth, earthy. 75 'Elsewhere, he asks, . .. t h i s Heart Divine - what i s i t ? It_ is_ our own. 76 Poe concludes, ... Man ... ceasing imperceptibly to f e e l himself Man, w i l l at length a t t a i n that awfully triumphant epoch when he s h a l l recognize h i s existence as that of Jehovah. 77 In Thomas Ca r l y l e ' s Sartor Resartis, which i s included i n Gauguin's p o r t r a i t of Meyer de Haan (W//317) of 1889, the main character, Teufelsdrockh, maintains: 80. ... Of the Poet's and Prophet's insp i r e d Message and how i t . makes arid unmakes whole worlds, I s h a l l forbear mention... 78 ... Highest of a l l Symbols are those wherein the A r t i s t or Poet has r i s e n into Prophet, and a l l men can recognize a present -_God,% and worship the same; I mean r e l i g i o u s Symbols. 79 In "The'Hero as D i v i n i t y " (On Heroes and Hero Worshop), C a r l y l e wrote; about the "great Thinker, the o r i g i n a l man, the Seer, the s p i r i t u a l Hero": We s t i l l honour such a man; c a l l him Poet, Genius, and so f o r t h : but to these wild men he was a very magician, a worker of miraculous unexpected blessing f or them; a Prophet, a God! 80 V.E. Michelet, w r i t i n g i n 1891, claimed that the poet was one of the incarnations i n which was manifested the Revealer, the Hero, the man whom Ca r l y l e c a l l e d 'a messenger sent by the impenetrable I n f i n i t e with t i d i n g s for us : Qu'est-ce que l e Poete? C'est une des incarnations sous l e s q u e l l e s se manifeste l e Revelateur; l e Heros, l'homme que C a r l y l e appelle 'un messager envoye de 1'impenetrable I n f i n i avec des nouvelles pour nous'. 82 The Saint-Simonians, r e l a t e s Jack Lindsay, had developed the idea of a poet as p r i e s t or messiah, who was to carry on a 've r i t a b l e priesthood'; one of them, E. Barrault, i n L'Appel aux a r t i s t e s of 1830, had declared that only the a r t i s t , duly absorbing Saint-Simonian ideas, was worthy of guiding mankind.^ In l i g h t of what has been c i t e d above regarding the a t t i t u d e of major nineteenth-century l i t e r a r y figures about the poet as seer and prophet -Gauguin's view of himself as a poet with mystical tendencies appears re l a t e d to h i s opinion of himself as an a r t i s t i c and s p i r i t u a l leader. F. The Dream as a Personal V i s i o n of R e a l i t y The a r t i s t as v i s i o n a r y could claim to have the power of mystic i n s i g h t , \ the power of ' l e reve', as i t was c a l l e d i n Gauguin's time. Baudelaire, i n h i s a r t i c l e , "Richard Wagner et Tannhauser," of 1861, quoted Wagner who claimed that i t was possible for the mind to be trans-ported to the dream-state and then on to perfect clairvoyance, perceiving what the eyes could not i n the normal state of waking: Le caractere de l a scene et l e ton de l a legende contributent ensemble a j e t e r 1'esprit dans cet etat de reve qui l e porte bientot jusqu'a l a pleine clairvoyance, et l ' e s p r i t decouvre alors un nouvel enchainement des phenomenes du monde, que ses yeux ne pouvaient apercevoir dans l ' e t a t de v e i l l e o r d i n a i r e . 84 For Baudelaire, the dream was a means of acquiring knowledge, a mode of perceiving what was r e a l or rather some superior r e a l i t y , of which our stable universe i s but a s i m p l i f i c a t i o n , a c a r i c a t u r e : Mais l e reve est aussi moyen de connaissance, mode de perception du r d e l , ou plutdt d'une surrdalite" dont notre univers stable n'est que l a s i m p l i f i c a t i o n et, pour a i n s i p a r l e r , l a c a r i c a t u r e . 85 For Baudelaire the dream was a v i s i o n produced by intense meditation: C'est l ' i n f i n i dans l e f i n i . C'est l e r i v e et j e n'entends pas ce mot l e s capharnaums de l a n u i t , mais l a v i s i o n produite par une intense meditation ou, dans les cervaux moins f e r t i l e s , par un excitant a r t i f i c i e l . 86 One i s reminded of the women and p r i e s t i n Gauguin's V i s i o n apres l e sermon who have t h e i r heads bowed with t h e i r eyes closed, yet are nonetheless capable of "seeing" the v i s i o n before them, inwardly contemplating i t . Lehmann writes that for Baudelaire the dream was "equivalent to the 87 s i g n i f i c a n t experience i n the c r u c i b l e of the poet's a r t " : It i s the world i n which the c r i t e r i a of t r u t h and falsehood are abolished; i n which the poet i s not bound by the rules of r e a l i s t i c composition;88 i n infusing i t into art the poet produces an experience i n which the work of art and the a r t i s t are fused into one (into one a c t i v i t y ) ; 8 9 i n which the a r t i s t or spectator undergo experiences of heightened l u c i d i t y and sometimes t e r r i f y i n g e x h i l a r a t i o n - which he ascribes to the ' beneficient e f f e c t s of communion with a mystical, universe, a 82. puissance superieure, or at le a s t to 'une v e r i t a b l e grace';90 i n which are to be found a l l the most mysteriously powerful turns of language and imagery, the profoundest plunges of 'awareness'. 91 In "Oeuvre et v i e d.'Eugene Delacroix," Baudelaire describes how Delacroix communicated better than anyone else the i n v i s i b l e , the impalpable, the dream, the energy, the s p i r i t : Mais enfin, monsieur direz-vous sans doute, quel est done ce , j e ne sais quoi de mysterieux que Delacroix, pour l a g l o i r e de notre s i e c l e , a mieux t r a d u i t qu'aucun autre? C'est i n v i s i b l e , c'est 1'impalpable, c'est l e reve, c'est l e s ner f s , c'est 1'ame... 92 The dream expressed by the a r t i s t was not a means of escaping r e a l i t y but an endeavour to present h i s own view of r e a l i t y . In 1859 Baudelaire 93 translated Poe's Eureka. Described as "an essay on the material and 94 s p i r i t u a l universe," Eureka was dedicated by Poe, To the few who love me and whom I love - to those who f e e l rather than to those who think - to the dreamers and those who put f a i t h i n dreams as i n the only r e a l i t i e s . . . 95 Tdodor de Wyzewa, w r i t i n g about Mallarme" i n La Vogue i n July, 1886, claimed that the poet admitted the r e a l i t y of the world but admitted i t as the r e a l i t y of f i c t i o n ; dreams of the soul, a l l dreams were r e a l . ^ Paul Adam, i n the October, 1886, issue of La Vogue, quoted from Gustave Kahn's "Reponse des Symbolistes" (from L'Evenement, September 28, 1886) who wrote i n support of Moreas' manifesto and the expression of dreams, dreams being i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e from l i f e : Pour l a matiere des oeuvres, l a s du quotidien, du coudoye et de 1'obligatoire contemporain, nous voulons pouvoir placer en quelque epoque ou meme en p l e i n reve (le reve etant i n d i s t i n c t de l a v i e ) . . . 97 In C a r l y l e ' s Sartor Resartus, Teufelsdrockh asks: Who am I; what i s t h i s Me?... We s i t as i n a boundless Phantasmagoria and Dream-grotto; boundless, f o r the f a i n t e s t s t a r , the remotest century, l i e s not even nearer 83. the verge thereof: sounds and many-coloured v i s i o n s f l i t round our sense; but Him, the Unslumbering, whose work both Dream and Dreamer are, we see not; except i n rare h a l f -waking moments, suspect not... This Dreaming, t h i s Somna-bulism i s what we on Earth c a l l L i f e ; . . . But that same Where, with i t s brother When, are from the f i r s t the master-colours of our Dream-grotto; say, rather, the Canvas (the warp and woof thereof) whereon a l l our Dreams and L i f e - V i s i o n s are painted. Nevertheless, has not a deeper meditation taught c e r t a i n of every climate and age, that the Where and When, so mysteriously inseparable from a l l our thoughts, are but s u p e r f i c i a l t e r r e s t r i a l adhesions to thought; that the Seer may discern them where they mount up out of the c e l e s t i a l EVERYWHERE and FOREVER... 98 In "The Hero as D i v i n i t y " from On Heroes and Hero Worship, C a r l y l e r e a l i z e s : ... They seem to have seen, these brave old Norsemen, what Meditation has taught a l l men i n a l l ages, that t h i s world i s a f t e r a l l but a show, - a phenomenon or appearance, no r e a l thing. A l l deep souls see into that, - the Hindoo Mythologist, the German Philosopher - the Shakespeare, the earnest Thinker, wherever he may be: 'We are "such s t u f f as Dreams are made of!' 99 J.K. Huysmans, who praised Gauguin's Study of a Nude, exhibited i n 1881 at the s i x t h Impressionist show, wrote 'A Rebours which was published i n 1883.^^ In i t , Huysmans discussed the p o s s i b i l i t y of undertaking long voyages of exploration s i t t i n g i n one's armchair."'"^"'" He maintained that one must be able to concentrate the mind on a s i n g l e point, so as to a t t a i n a s u f f i c i e n t degree of s e l f - a b s t r a c t i o n to produce the necessary h a l l u c i n a -t i o n and thus substitute the v i s i o n of the r e a l i t y for the r e a l i t y i t s e l f . " ^ In L'Art Moderne of! 1883, i n which Gauguin i s also referred to and his works discussed, Huysmans c i t e s Baudelaire and Poe as being the teachers of 103 Redon. Huysmans claims that Redon seems to -have thoroughly thought over the idea that everything which i s c e r t a i n i s found i n dreams, adding that i t i s there that one finds the true source of t h i s c r e a t i v e s p i r i t . Noted by Huysmans i n L'Art Moderne were Redon's f i r s t volume of ten plates and a 104 f r o n t i s p i e c e (lithographs) of 1879, e n t i t l e d Dans l e reve. In A Soi-Meme, 84. Redon wrote: C'est l a nature aussi qui nous p r e s c r i t d'obeir aux dans qu'elle nous a donnes . Les miens m'ont in d u i t au reve; j ' a i subi les tourments de 1'imagination et les surprises qu'elle me donnait sous l e crayon; mais j e les a i conduites et mendes, ces surprises, selon des l o i s d'organisme d'art que j e s a i s , que j e sens a seule f i n d'obtenir chez l e spectateur, par un a t t r a i t s u b i t , toute 1'evocation, tout l ' a t t i r a n t de l ' i n c e r t a i n , sur les confins de l a pensee. 105 Hokusai was" considered to be a "reveur" as w e l l . A r i Renan, i n 1888, wrote of the Japanese a r t i s t as being not only a n a t u r a l i s t but also an i d e a l i s t , of being not only i n love with v i s i b l e nature but also of being a dreamer, an imaginative painter: I I est evident q u ' i l y a deux hommes dans l'auteur de l a Mangua: l e n a t u r a l i s t e et l ' i d e a l i s t e . I I ne faut pas s'etonner de ce dernier terme. Hokusai n'est pas seulement un manat de l a nature v i s i b l e ; i l est aussi reveur, un peintre imaginatif. 106 After noting the names of Poe and Baudelaire, Renan finds i t remarkable to discover the p l a s t i c r e a l i z a t i o n of these dreams of 'the beyond' with an a r t i s t of the Far East, which the most advanced school of French and English l i t e r a t u r e had believed to have been the f i r s t to r e a l i z e Gauguin remarked i n 1889, with reference to the Assyrian l i o n r e l i e f s which he had been studying i n the Galerie D i e u l a f o i i n the *L6uv.rev„:- that i t must have taken "un immense genie pour imaginer des pleurs qui soient des muscles d'animaux ou des muscles qui soient des f l e u r s . Tout l'Orient mystique reveur se retrouve la-dedans . In Notes Synthetiques, Gauguin had written that one can f r e e l y dream 109 while one i s l i s t e n i n g to music j u s t as when one looks at a pi c t u r e ... Vous pouvez rever librement en entendant l a musique comme en regardant un tableau. 109 In Avant et Apres Gauguin claims that waking dreams are almost the same thing as sleeping dreams, sleeping dreams being often bolder and sometimes a 85. l i t t l e more l o g i c a l : Rever r e v e i l l e , c'est a peu pres l e meme chose que rever endormi - Le reve endormi est souvent plus hardi, quelque f o i s un peu plus logique. 110 On March 12, 1897, he wrote to Daniel de Monfreid, describing Te Rerioa Le Reve (W#557) of 1897, that everything was a dream i n that picture, be i t the c h i l d , the mother, the horseman on the path, or the painter's dream: Tout est reve dans cette t o i l e ; est-ce l'enfant, est-ce l a mere, est-ce l e c a v a l i e r dans l e s e n t i e r ou bien est-ce l e reve du peintre! I l l To Fontainas Gauguin sent the following i n 1899: ... mon reve ne se l a i s s e pas s a i s i r , ne comporte aucune a l l e g o r i e ; poeme musical, i l se passe de l i b r e t t o . C i t a t i o n Mallarme. Par consequent immateriel et superieur, l ' e s s e n t i e l dans une oeuvre consiste precisement dans ce qui n'est pas exprime: i l en r e s u l t s implicitement des ligne s , sans couleurs ou paroles, i l n'en est pas materiellement constitue... L'idole . .. f a i s a n t corps dans mon reve...; Et tout c e l a chante douloureusement en mon ame decor, en peignant et revant tout a f o i s . . . ; 'mes yeux se ferment pour v o i r sans comprendre l e reve dans 1'espace i n f i n i qui f u i t devant moi'... 112 He maintained that h i s dream was not tangible, i t did not contain any a l l e -gory; quoting Mallarme, Gauguin said i t was l i k e a musical poem and could do without a l i b r e t t o . The e s s e n t i a l thing he f e l t , consisted i n that which had not been expressed. Claiming that he painted and dreamed at the same time, Gauguin closed h i s eyes i n order to see without understanding the dream i n the i n f i n i t e space receding before him. As discussed previously i n Chapter Two, Gauguin wrote to Schuffenecker i n 1885 about Cezanne as a dreamer and a mystic. Gauguin advised that a strong f e e l i n g could be tra n s l a t e d immediately;; one had to dream about i t and seek 113 i t s simplest form. In 1888 he cautioned not to paint too much from nature, maintaining that a r t was an abstraction: " t i r e z - l a de l a nature en revant 114 devant et pensez plus a l a creation qui r e s u l t e r a . . . " 86. The dream, l i k e the v i s i o n experienced by the Breton peasants i n V i s i o n apres l e sermon, springs from a highly subjective and i n d i v i d u a l creative process. The dream becomes the a r t i s t ' s v i s i o n of h i s own r e a l i t y , f r e e l y expressed i n h i s art by h i s personal choice of subject matter and s t y l e , a superior r e a l i t y , hot adhering to laws or norms he had not made or created himself. Taking t h i s into account and what was expressed e a r l i e r about the p o e t - a r t i s t (Gauguin included) claiming the r o l e of a v i s i o n a r y , i t i s l i t t l e wonder that the work of a r t assumed a r e l i g i o u s s i g n i f i c a n c e . G. The Religious Significance of Art" i n Gauguin's Time Vincent wrote to Bernard at the end of June, 1888: It i s a very good thing that you read the B i b l e . . . Christ alone - of a l l the philosophers, Magi, et c . - has affirmed, as a p r i n c i p a l certainty, e t e r n a l l i f e , the i n f i n i t y of time, the nothingness of death, the necessity and the raison d'etre of serenity and devotion. He l i v e d serenely, as a greater a r t i s t than a l l other a r t i s t s , despising marble and clay as well as c o l o r , working i n l i v i n g f l e s h . , That i s to say, t h i s matchless a r t i s t , hardly to be conceived of by the obtuse instrument of our modern," nervous, stupefied brains, made neither statues nor p i c t u r e s nor books; he loudly proclaimed that he made ... l i v i n g men, immortals. This i s serious, e s p e c i a l l y because i t i s the t r u t h . And who would dare t e l l us that he l i e d on that day when, s c o r n f u l l y f o r e t e l l i n g the collapse of the Roman e d i f i c e , he declared, Heaven and earth s h a l l pass away, but my words s h a l l not pass away. >' These spoken words, which l i k e a p r o d i g a l grand seigneur, he did not even deign to write down, are one of the highest summits - the very highest summit - reached by a r t , which becomes a creative force there, a pure cr e a t i v e power. These considerations, my dear comrade Bernard, lead us very f a r , very f a r a f i e l d , they r a i s e us above a r t i t s e l f . They make us see the art of creating l i f e , the art of being immortal and a l i v e at the same time. They are connected with pa i n t i n g . The patron saint of painters - St. Luke, physician, painter, evangelist - whose symbol i s a l a s , nothing but an ox, i s there to give us hope... 115 87. I t i s conceivable that Bernard shows t h i s l e t t e r to Gauguin upon j o i n i n g him i n August, 1888. Charles Morice, whom Gauguin met at the end of 1889 or the beginning of 1890, wrote La L i t t e r a t u r e de tout a 1'heure which was published i n 1889.''""'"^  Morice believed that poets were emanations of God, sparks escaped from the f i r e of the A l l - L i g h t ; they were the ext e r i o r manifestations of. God poets created t h e i r dreams i n order to inform of e t e r n i t y . Art i s a revealer of the i n f i n i t e and i t s essence i s r e l i g i o u s : ... l ' A r t n'est pas que l e revelateur de l ' I n f i n i : i l est au Poete un moyen meme d'y penetrer: i l y va plus profond qu'aucune Philosophie, i l y prolonge et repercute, l e r e v e l a t i o n d'un Evangile, i l est une lumiere qui appelle l a lumifere comme un flambeau e v e i l l e m i l l e feux aux voutes naguere endormies d'une grotte de c r i s t a l ; - i t s a i t ce que l ' a r t i s t e ne s a i t pas. De nature : done ,ij d'essence, l ' A r t est r e l i g i e u x . Aussi n a i t - i l a 1'ombre des Revelations, l e s manifestant vivantes par son intime union avec e l l e s et temoignant de leur mort en les q u i t t a n t . 118 Art i s the very means to penetrate into the i n f i n i t e ; i t goes much deeper than any philosophy, i t prolongs and reverberates the revel a t i o n of a Gospel. The a r t i s t s t r i v e s to become God; he explores and reveals the meaning of existence through h i s a r t , creating l i k e God: Les Revelations, ayant pour interprete l e genie humain, ne durent qu'autant qu'elles l u i font l'atmosphere qui l u i est e s s e n t i e l l e pour v i v r e et pour se developper. Or l e genie, l'ombre de Dieu, est comme l u i de creer... 119 Morice was strongly influenced by Plotinus i n the formulation of h i s 120 theories. According to Plotinus, the mystic contemplated t h e # d i v i n e perfection i n himself; he advised one to reduce the soul to i t s most perfect s i m p l i c i t y i n order for i t to be capable of exploration into the i n f i n i t e , 121 for i t to become one with the i n f i n i t e . Morice wrote about a return to 122 o r i g i n a l s i m p l i c i t y using the word " s i m p l i c i t e " with respect to p a i n t i n g . Plotinus also i n s i s t e d that i t was ar t which imitated the Ideas, thus elevating art to one of the highest of human a c t i v i t i e s . Albert Aurier i n h i s c r i t i c a l review of 1891, which w i l l be examined s h o r t l y , maintained that 124 Gauguin was an I d e i s t a r t i s t . Many other nineteenth century l i t e r a r y figures had s i m i l a r views about the r e l i g i o u s and s p i r i t u a l nature of a r t . In Sartor Resartus, C a r l y l e claimed that the symbol was a re v e l a t i o n of the Godlike and the concept of the symbol was inherent i n true a r t . Thus 125 art was the Godlike rendered v i s i b l e . Edgar A l l e n Poe wrote That the imagination has not been unjustly ranked as supreme among the mental f a c u l t i e s appears from the intense consciousness, on the part of the imaginative man, that the f a c u l t y brings h i s soul often to a glimpse of things supernal and e t e r n a l . 126 In h i s a r t i c l e Salon de 1846, Baudelaire defined Romanticism as modern art - intimacy, s p i r i t u a l i t y , colour, a s p i r a t i o n towards the i n f i n i t e , expressed by every means a v a i l a b l e to the a r t s : Qui d i t romantisme d i t a r t moderns, - e'est-a-dire i n t i m i s t e , s p i r i t u a l i t e , couleur, a s p i r a t i o n vers l ' i n f i n i , exprimees par tous les moyens que contiennent les a r t s . 127 Baudelaire asserted that Delacroix was able to express by contour man's gesture and to evoke by colour alone what might be c a l l e d the atmosphere of the human drama, or the s p i r i t u a l mood of the creator: ... Ce merite tres p a r t i c u l i e r et tout nouveau de M. Delacroix, qui l u i a permis d'exprimer, simplement avec l e contour, l e geste de l'homme, s i v o i l e n t q u ' i l s o i t , et avec l a couelur ce qu'on pourrait appeler 1'atmosphere du drame humain, ou l ' e t a t de l'ame du createur... 128 Baudelaire continued that a picture by Delacroix, placed too f a r from the spectator to recognize the subject, offered even at that distance a super-natural pleasure: Un tableau de. Delacroix, place a une trop grande distance pour que vous puissiez juger de l'agrement des contours ou de l a q u a l i t e plus ou moins dramatique du sujet, vous penetre 89. deja d'une volupt£ s u r n a t u r e l l e . I I vous semble qu'une atmosphere magique a marche vers vous et vous enveloppe. 129 In 1886, Mallarmd's d e f i n i t i o n of poetry appeared i n La Vogue as the expression through human language, reduced to i t s e s s e n t i a l rhythm, of the mysterious meaning of the aspects of l i f e ; poetry conferred a u t h e n t i c a l l y . . 130 upon man s existence and constituted the sole s p i r i t u a l aim. In h i s a r t i c l e , "La Religion de Richard Wagner et l e r e l i g i o n du compte Leon T o l s t o i " i n the October 8, 1886 issue of Revue Wagnerienne, Teodor de Wyzewa contends that r e l i g i o n i s composed of symbols, that r e l i g i o n needs a mystical symbol, a miraculous symbol i n order to be able to persuade people; art i s therefore t h i s kind of r e l i g i o n which elevates people: La Religion se compose de mythes ou symbols, necessaries parce que, toute r e l i g i o n etant l a constantation de l a f r a g i l i t e de ce monde et ayant pour f i n d'en d e l i v r e r l'homme, e l l e a besoin du symbole mystique, du symbole miraculeux pour deter-miner l e peuple, i n i n t e l l i g e n t de cette f r a g i l i t e , a poursuivre l a tache de sa l i b e r a t i o n . Or, ces symboles recouvrent des v e r i t e s divines que l a r e l i g i o n doit l a i s s e r cachees, mais qui i doivent etre interpreted a tous par l e moyen de l ' a r t . L'art est <5loncy cette forme de r e l i g i o n qui eleve le peuple, de l a pratique i n i n t e l l i g e n t e , a l a pratique raisonnee et sachante. 131 A.G. Lehmann refe r s to "poetry as ah exercise i n mystical knowledge" i n 132 The Symbolist Aesthetic i n France 1885-1895: ... art does no more than reproduce the profounder v i s i o n of the seer. What the seer sees i s v a r i o u s l y described, though the formulae seldom move outside the r e p e r t o i r e of mystical t r a d i t i o n : i t may be the 'essence of things' or, the ' s p i r i t of things' - two phrases that d o v e t a i l neatly enough into a theory of P l a t o n i c ideas ... [133] or a l t e r n a t i v e l y i t may be the ' v i s i b l e from God' [134] so r e c a l l i n g a tendency ... to treat art as i n some way sacred, a q u a s i - r e l i g i o u s r i t e , or at least on a par with r e l i g i o n as one of the more absolute forms of mind [135] or i t may be, as i n Mallarme.... 'le commentaire des signes purs, a qui obeit, toute L i t t e r a t u r e , j e t immediat de l ' E s p r i t ' . 136 Lehmann discusses Charles Morice returning to "mystical arguments f o r the supremacy of art over a l l other forms of human enterp r i s e " . He notes 90. Mauclair, under Mallarme's influence, ... advancing the view that what i s mystic and apparently ' i r r a t i o n a l ' i n art arises from a mystic and i r r a t i o n a l f a c u l t y i n man, and that there are ' t o t a l u n i v e r s a l laws' ascertainable by mystic i n s i g h t , which a r t i s t s attempt to formulate. 138 Lehmann finds "every p e t i t e revue carving out i t s path on the assumption that 139 i t s readers t r e a t art as a r e l i g i o u s exercise, i f not as a mystic one". For many of the major and i n f l u e n t i a l l i t e r a r y figures i n Gauguin's time, then, art had a strong r e l i g i o u s s i g n i f i c a n c e and purpose. H. Gauguin's Awareness of Contemporary Thought In order to discover the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of Gauguin having had knowledge of the aforementioned ideas, his contacts with contemporary c r i t i c s , writers and poets w i l l be examined beginning with his immediate acquaintances and t h e i r i n t e r e s t s . 140 Cezanne apparently followed Huysmans' work c l o s e l y . P i s s a r r o was aware of Huysmans as w e l l ; from Osny on May 9, 1883, he informs h i s son, Lucien, that he has j u s t received Huysmans' book L'Art Moderne from the author himself: ... i t i s a c o l l e c t i o n of his pieces on the Salon and our exhibitions between 1879 and 1882...,I w i l l send you the / book as soon as I go to P a r i s , f or I w i l l ask Gauguin to buy a copy and mail i t to you. 141 On March 26, 1888, Gauguin inquired of Schuffenecker whether he had L'Art ' 142 Moderne, therefore suggesting that he himself was aware of the work. On December 28, 1883, P i s s a r r o wrote to Lucien that he was sending him Mallarme's Les Fleurs de Mal and the book of Verlaine (although he did not spec i f y which book): he recognized t h e i r s u p e r i o r i t y as works of a r t , and from the standpoint of c e r t a i n ideas of modern c r i t i c i s m they had value to 143 him. I t ' i s known that by 1891 Gauguin was attending Mallarme's poetry 144 readings and that he had executed an etched p o r t r a i t of Mallarme. Later, 145 i n Avant et Apres Gauguin wrote about Mallarme immortalizing nymphs. Yet due to his close as s o c i a t i o n with P i s s a r r o , Gauguin must have been f a m i l i a r with Mallarme's work as well as Verlaine's before 1891. In March, 1886, Pissarro spoke of a dinner with the impressionists which he had j u s t attended where the guests included Mallarme and Huysmans; he noted having had a long discussion with Huysmans, who, i n Pissarro's opinion, was very conversant with the new art and anxious to break a lance for Pissarro and 146 his group. Pissarro, i t seems, was w e l l i n tune with what was happening 149 148 i n the l i t e r a r y world. Moreover he read Le Figaro, L'Intransigeant, 149 ^ La Vogue, La Revue Independante (founded 1884 with F e l i x Feneon as i t s chief e d i t o r ) a n d La Vie M o d e r n e , a l l of which would have included reviews and c r i t i c i s m s about current a r t i s t i c philosophy and thought. Pissarro was also acquainted with Gustave Kahn, who had openly supported and elaborated 152 Mor£as' symbolist manifesto. Claude-Emile Schuffenecker, whom Gauguin had met while both were working fo r the firm of B e r t i n , became a drawing i n s t r u c t o r at the Lycee de Vanves, 153 l a t e r known as the Lycee Michelet, a f t e r h i s departure from the f i r m . It was to his students, and thus i n a l l l i k e l i h o o d to his f r i e n d , Gauguin, as , 154 w e l l , that he spoke of the poetry of Rimbaud and Mallarme. Wladyslawa Jaworska writes: His reputation as an 'Impressionist' and a theosophist quickly had h i s pupils s i t t i n g at his f e e t . What was more, he used to t a l k to them about l i t e r a r y things, p a r t i c u l a r l y poetry, and introduce them to the complexities of Buddhist doctrine. One of them, E. Deverin, was to write: 'As for me, who knew him i n days gone by at the Lyce"e Michelet, where he was drawing master for many years, I s t i l l have a s t i r r i n g and appreciative memory of that l i t t l e man with gleaming eyes, and energetic enthusiast who introduced us to the poetry of Reimbaud, Corbiere and Mallarmd and revealed to our sixteen-year-old eyes those misunderstood and much c r i t i c i z e d painters, Cezanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh and Odilon Redon.' 155 156 Edgar Degas had begun to write poetry as early as 1882. He studied poetry, bought a rhyming dictionary, composed sonnets about the b a l l e t , and * 157 discussed his endeavours with Stephane Mallarme. As evidenced from hi s l e t t e r s , Van Gogh was f a m i l i a r with the works of Balzac,"*"~^ Edgar Poe,"'""'^  Huysmans,"'"^ and Carlyle."^"'" To Anthon von Rappard Van Gogh wrote on March 30, 1883, asking "Do you have the p o r t r a i t of Ca r l y l e - that b e a u t i f u l one i n the Graphic? At the moment I am reading h i s Sartor 16 2 Resartus - 'the philosophy of old clothes'... That he was acquainted with FeTix Feneon can be seen from the drawing Lucien Pissarro made of them s i t t i n g 163 side by side during Van Gogh's stay i n P a r i s , 1886. Vincent also read journals such as the Revue des deux mondes"*"^ "* and the Revue Independante As indicated i n Chapter Two, he studied the l i f e and theories of Delacroix, 166 recorded by Charles Blanc, Theophile S i l v e s t r e , and Dargenty. Dargenty's 167 Eugene Delacroix par lui-meme was published i n 1885, S i l v e s t r e ' s Les  A r t i s t e s f r a n c a i s : I Romantiques i n Blanc's Les A r t i s t e s de mon temps i n 1876 and the l a t t e r ' s Grammaire des a r t s du dessin i n 1867. 168 Charles Baudelaire's Curiosites e'sthetiques was published i n 1885 and was widely read; Moreas, i n his manifesto, had proclaimed that Baudelaire 169 should be considered the true precursor of the present movement. Bernard, i n turn, knew Edward Dujardin, the editor of Revue Wagnerienne (founded i n 1885), who had stayed i n Pont-Aven between 188 6-88.'''7^ Gauguin, therefore, had i n a l l p r o b a b i l i t y encountered him. Bernard was also acquainted with Albert Aurier, whom he had met at St. Briac i n 1888, and under whose influence he had begun to write poetry."'"7"'" Aurier, who had contributed numerous poems and a r t i c l e s to Le Decadent, Le 172 Plume, etc., had j u s t become e d i t o r - i n - c h i e f of the p e r i o d i c a l Le Moderniste. Through Bernard, Gauguin became acquainted with the poet and c r i t i c himself; by 1889 Gauguin was w r i t i n g to Aurier i n hope of getting h i s own a r t i c l e s published I t seems f a i r to assume that Gauguin, v i a his friends and acquaintances and t h e i r contacts would also have been involved i n the exchange of current ideas and on the whole w e l l aware of the various goings-on i n l i t e r a r y and painting c i r c l e s - hence the concepts discussed i n the present chapter. I. Albert Aurier's A r t i c l e : "Le Symbolisme en Peinture - Paul Gauguin" In March, 1891, Aurier's a r t i c l e , "Le Symbolisme en peinture - Paul Gauguin," was published i n the Mercure de France. The review was written subsequent to Bernard's request to Aurier i n July, 1890. Bernard had appealed to the young c r i t i c and w r i t e r for assistance, informing him that he and Gauguin wished to leave for Madagascar and to do so 174 they needed money, and hence p u b l i c i t y . Aurier had already composed a lengthy a r t i c l e i n 1890 about Vincent, whose works he was f a m i l i a r with v i a Bernard. As e d i t o r - i n - c h i e f of Le Moderniste, Aurier had produced p u b l i c i t y for the V o l p i n i "Symboliste-Synthetiste" e x h i b i t i o n of 1889, published a r t i c l e s 176 written by Bernard and Gauguin and reviewed the e x h i b i t i o n himself. I t 177 was during the V o l p i n i show that Aurier f i r s t met Gauguin personally. The idea of Aurier's a r t i c l e was part of Gauguin's campaign to r e c r u i t help to gain p u b l i c recognition p r i o r to an auction which would hopefully 178 bring an adequate sum of money for his t r i p . The auction took place on February 22, 1891, where Vision apres l e sermon brought'^the highest b i d , 179 180 s e l l i n g for 900 francs. Aurier's a r t i c l e appeared about one week l a t e r . That t h i s painting fetched the highest p r i c e , that Mirbeau had singled i t out at the time i n a l e t t e r to Monet, who l i k e d i t i n p a r t i c u l a r , and that. Aurier focused on the painting i n h i s review, points out that i t was highly regarded and favourably received by Gauguin's c i r c l e of acquaintances. Aurier's a r t i c l e opened with a d e t a i l e d and lengthy d e s c r i p t i o n of V i s i o n apres le sermon: Loin, tres l o i n , sur une fabuleuse c o l l i n e , dont le s o l apparait de vermilion r u t i l a n t , c'est l a l u t t e b i b l i q u e de Jacob avec l'Ange. 181 The Breton peasants' piety i s emphasized; they have the r e s p e c t f u l poses and faces of simple creatures l i s t e n i n g to extraordinary s t o r i e s ; t h e i r bearing is.devout: .. . E l l e s ont l e s a t t i t u d e s respectueuses et les faces £carquillees des creatures simples ecoutant d'extraordin-'aires contes un peu fantastiques affirmes par quelque bouche incontestable et reveree. On les d i r a i t dans une e g l i s e , toute s i l e n c i e u s e est leur attention, tant r e c u e i l l i , tant agenouille, tant devot est leur maintien; on les d i r a i t dans une e g l i s e et qu'une vague odeur d'encens et de p r i e r e v o l e t t e parmi les a i l e s blanches de leurs c o i f f e s etjqu'une voix respectee de vieux pretre plane sur leurs t i t e s . . . 182 Aurier describes the Voice which induces the v i s i o n : ... Quel accent merveilleusement touchant, quelle lumineuse hypotypose, etrangement appropries aux f r u s t r e s o r e i l l e s de son balourd a u d i t o i r e , a rencentres ce Bossuet de v i l l a g e qui annone? Toutes les ambiantes m a t e r i a l i t e s se sont dissipees en vapeurs, ont disparu; lui-meme, l'evocateur, s'est efface, et c'est maintenant sa Voix, sa pauvre v i e i l l e pitoyable Voix bredouillante, qui est devenue v i s i b l e , imperieusement v i s i b l e , et c'est sa Voix que contemplent, avec cette attention naive devote, ces paysannes a c o i f f e s blanches, et c'est sa Voix, cette v i s i o n villageoisement fantastique, surgie, la-bas l o i n , tres l o i n , sa Voix, cette c o l l i n e fabuleuse, dont l e s o l a est couleur de vermilion, ce pays de reve enfantin, ou les deux geants b i b l i q u e s , transformes en pygmees par l ' e l o i g n e -ment, combattent leur dur et formidable combat!... 183 Standing i n front, of t h i s painting, the enigma of the Poem i s revealed, the charms of the Dream, the Mystery; the eternal psychological problem of the p o s s i b i l i t y of r e l i g i o n s , of p o l i c i t s and sociology i s solved: Or, devant cette merveilleuse t o i l e de Paul Gauguin, qui illumine vraiment l'enigme du Poeme, aux paridisiaques 95. heures de l a p r i m i t i v e humanite; qui revele les charmes in e f f a b l e s du Reve, du Mystere et des v o i l e s symboliques que ne soulevent qu'a demi les mains des simples; qui r£sout, pour l e bon l i s e u r , l ' e t e r n e l probleme psycho^ logique de l a p o s s i b i l i t e des r e l i g i o n s , des p o l i t i q u e s et des s o c i o l o g i e s . . . 184 Aurier claimed that the painting had very l i t t l e to do with impressionism or naturalism. B e l i e v i n g that there was a mystic, i d e a l i s t i c reaction occurring, he maintained that V i s i o n apres l e sermon t e s t i f i e d that t h i s tendency e x i s t s : Quoi q u ' i l en s o i t , aujourd'hui qu'en l i t t e r a t u r e nous assistons - cela commence a devenir - a. l'agonie du naturalisme, a l o r s que nous voyons se preparer une reaction i d e a l i s t e , mystique meme, 11 faudrai t s'^tonner s i les arts plastiques ne manifestaient aucune tendance vers une p a r e i l l e evolution. La Lutte de Jacob avec l'Ange, que j ' a i tente.. decrire en exorde de cette etude, temoigne assez, j e c r o i s , que cette tendance e x i s t e , et l'on doit comprendre que les peintres engages dans cette voie nouvelle ont tout i n t e r e t a ce qu'on les debarrasse de cette absurde etiquette d' "impressionnistes" qui implique, i l faut l e repeter, un pro-gramme directement c o n t r a d i c t o i r e du l e u r . 185 One ought to f i n d a new name for t h i s "1st," for the newcomers, at the head of whom marches Gauguin: s y n t h e t i s t s , i d e i s t s , symbolists, as one pleases: ... Done, qu'on invente un nouveau vocable en i s t e ( i l y en a tant deja q u ' i l n'y parai point!) pour les nouveaux venus, a l a t§te desquels marche Gauguin: synthetistes, i d e i s t e s , symbolistes, comme i l p l a i r a . . . 186 For Aurier, Gauguin was a sublime seer, the i n i t i a t o r of a new a r t : Paul Gauguin me semble un de ces sublimes voyeurs. I l m'apparait comme l ' i n i t i a t e u r d'un art nouveau, non point dans l ' h i s t o i r e , mais, au moins, dans notre temps... 187 For Aurier there existed i n the h i s t o r y of art two contradictory ten-dencies, one which depended upon blindness, the r e a l i s t i c tendency, and the other upon the clairvoyancy of t h i s "inner eye of man" which Swedenborg spoke of, the i d e i s t tendency: 96. I I est Evident - et l ' a f f i r m e r est presque une banalite -q u ' i l existe dans l ' h i s t o i r e de l ' a r t deux grandes tendances contra d i c t o i r e s qui, incontestablement, dependent l'une de l a c e c i t d , l'autre de l a clairvoyance de cet " o e i l i n t e r i e u r de l'homme" dont parle Swedenborg, l a tendance r e a l i s t e et l a tendance i d e i s t e . . . 188 He went on to discuss the two tendencies, favouring the i d e i s t i n c l i n a t i o n as being more pure and elevated; supreme a r t cannot be anything but i d e i s t i n 189 nature. Hence, Aurier asserted that the normal and f i n a l goal of painting, as i n a l l a r t s , could be the d i r e c t representation of objects but the expres-sion by t r a n s l a t i n g into a s p e c i a l language, the Ideas. To the eyes of the a r t i s t , who i s the "Expressor of Absolute Beings," objects are signs, l e t t e r s 190 of an immense alphabet that only the man of genius i s able t o . s p e l l . Writing down his thought, his poem, with these signs, while remembering that the Idea alone i s everything, i s the task of the a r t i s t , whose eye has been able to discern the hypostasis of tangible objects. The f i r s t consequence 191 of t h i s p r i n c i p l e i s a necessary s i m p l i f i c a t i o n of the w r i t i n g of the sign. ' Only the superior, illuminated man w i l l be able to tame the monstrous'. v i s i o n and to walk as a master i n t h i s f a n t a s t i c temple "where the l i v i n g p i l l a r s sometimes leave confusing words;" the imbecile, human herd, fooled by appearances which make them deny the e s s e n t i a l ideas, w i l l pass by i n et e r n a l blindness "through the f o r e s t of f a m i l i a r - l o o k i n g symbols": .. . L'homme superieur, seul, illumine par cette supreme vertu que les Alexandrins nommaient s i justement l'extase, s a i t se persuader q u ' i l n'est lui-meme qu'un signe j e t e , par une mysterieuse preordination, au m i l i e u d'une innombrable foule de signes; l u i seul s a i t , dompteur de monstre i l l u s i o n , se promener en maitre dans ce temple fantastique. "Ou de vivants p i l i e r s Laissent p a r f o i s s o r t i r de confuses paroles... "alors que 1'imbecile troupeau humain, dupe par l e s apparences qui l u i feront n i e r les idees e s s e n t i e l l e , passera eternellement aveugle "A travers l e forets de symboles Qui l'observent avec des regards f a m i l i e r s . " 192 Therefore, Aurier i n s t r u c t e d , the a r t i s t has the duty to avoid concrete t r u t h , i l l u s i o n i s m , the trompe-1'oeil; the duty of the i d e i s t i c painter i s to carry out a r a t i o n a l s e l e c t i o n among the multiple elements combined i n o b j e c t i v i t y , to u t i l i z e i n his work only the general and d i s t i n c t i v e l i n e s , forms, colours which serve to put down c l e a r l y the i d e i s t i c s i g n i f i c a n c e of the object, to exaggerate, to attenuate, to deform these d i r e c t l y s i g n i f i c a n t characters - forms, l i n e s , colours, e t c . - not only following h i s i n d i v i d u a l v i s i o n but also following the needs of the Idea to be expressed: ... Le s t r i c t devoir du peintre i d e i s t e est, par consequent, d'effectuer une s e l e c t i o n raisonnee parmi les multiple elements combines en l ' o b j e c t i v i t e , de n ' u t l l i s e r en son oeuvre que les ligne s , les formes, les couleurs generales et d i s t i n c t i v e s servant a e c r i r e nettement :1a s i g n i f i c a t i o n ideique de l'objet, plus les quelques symboles p a r t i e l s corroborant l e symbole general. Meme, i l est aise de l e deduire, ces characteres directement s i g n i f i c a t e u r s (formes, lign e s , couleurs, e t c . ) , l ' a r t i s t e aura toujours l e d r o i t de l a s exagerer, de l e s attenuer, de l e s deformer, non seulement suivant sa„\vision i'ndividuelle, suivant les moules de sa personnelle s u b j e c t i v i t e ( a i n s i q u ' i l a r r i v e meme dans l ' a r t r e a l i s t e ) , mais encore de les exagerer, de l e s attenuer, de les deformer, suivant les besoins de l'ldee a exprimer. 193 Hence a work of art must be i d e i s t (since i t s unique i d e a l w i l l be the expres-sion of. the Idea) , symbolist (since i t w i l l express t h i s idea through forms) , synthetic (for i t w i l l write these forms, these signs, according to a mode of general comprehension), subjective (since the object would never be considered merely an object, but as a s i g n of an idea perceived by the subject); i t i s consequently decorative (for decorative art properly stated, as the Egyptians, very probably the Greeks and the Pri m i t i v e s understood i t , - i s nothing but a manifestation of a r t at once subjective, synthetic, 194 symbolist and i d e i s t ) . Aurier believed that true painting was i n fact decorative painting; i t i s created to decorate the bare walls of human e d i f i c e s with thoughts, dreams 98. and ideas. Moreover, the easel painting i s an i l l o g i c a l refinement, invented to s a t i s f y the whim and commercial s p i r i t of a decadent c i v i l i z a t i o n ; i n p r i m i t i v e s o c i e t i e s , on the other hand, the f i r s t p i c t o r i a l attempts could on have been decorative: Or, qu'on v e u i l l e bien y r e f l e c h i r , l a peinture decorative c'est, a proprement p a r l e r , l a v r a i e peinture. La peinture n'a pu etre cree que pour decorer de pensees, de reves et d'iddes les murales banalites des e d i f i c e s humains. Le 1 tableau de chevalet n'est qu'un i l l o g i q u e raffinement invente pour s a t i s f a i r e l a f a n t a i s i e ou 1'esprit commercial des c i v i l i s a t i o n s decadentes. Dans les societes p r i m i t i v e s , l e s premiers essais picturaux n'ont pu etre que d e c o r a t i f s . 195 I d e i s t art i s therefore a true and absolute art and legitimate for i t i s found to be i d e n t i c a l with p r i m i t i v e a r t , with art which was discovered by 196 the i n s t i n c t i v e geniuses of the e a r l i e s t time of humanity. Aurier noted that the a r t i s t who was a supreme formulator who knew how to write down Ideas l i k e a mathematician, who was some sort of an a l g e b r a i s t of Ideas, whose work was some kind of a marvellous equation or rather a page of ideographic w r i t i n g reminding one of the hieroglyphic texts of the obelisks of ancient Egypt, had to have a psychic g i f t , and the g i f t of emotiveness. Thanks to the g i f t of emotiveness, the symbols, that i s to say the Ideas, r i s e from the darkness, become animated, begin to l i v e a l i f e which i s no longer our contingent and r e l a t i v e l i f e , but a resplendant l i f e which i s the e s s e n t i a l l i f e , the l i f e of Art, the being of Being. Thanks to 197 t h i s g i f t , complete a r t , perfect, absolute, f i n a l l y e x i s t s . Such art, claimed Aurier, that grand a r t i s t of genius, with the soul of a p r i m i t i v e and a l i t t l e , of a savage, Paul Gauguin, has wished to e s t a b l i s h : Te l est l ' a r t q u ' i l est consolant de rever, t e l est l ' a r t que j 'aime imaginer, en les o b l i g a t o i r e s promenades parmi les piteuses ou turpides a r t i s t a i l l e r i e s qui encombrent nos i n d u s t r i a l i s t e s expositions. T e l est l ' a r t , a u s s i , j e c r o i s , a moins que j e n'aie mal interprete l a pensee de son oeuvre, qu'a voulu instaurer en notre lamentable et p u t r e f i e e p a t r i e 99. ce grand a r t i s t e genie, a l'ame de p r i m i t i f et, un peu, de sauvage, Paul Gauguin. 198 Aurier f e l t that one, with a clairvoyant eye, would be able to glimpse a whole ocean of Ideas i n Gauguin's paintings Le Christ vert ou c a l v a i r e breton (W//328), Vision apres l e sermon, Le Christ Jaune (W#327), Le Chris t 199 au jardin. des O l i v i e r s (W//326) , Soyez Heureuse. Aurier concluded by st a t i n g that l i k e a l l i d e i s t painters, Gauguin was above a l l a decorator; one i s tempted to consider h i s paintings as fragments of an immense fresco; he names Gauguin and possibly Puvis de Chavannes as the two great decorators of the century; Gauguin, as a decorator of genius, must . . 200 be given walls. Aurier's statement about Gauguin being a great a r t i s t i c genius i n a deplorable country must be considered. In h i s a r t i c l e on. Vincent of 1890, Aurier expressed s i m i l a r anti-establishment views. He called.Vincent "un exalte, ennemi des sob'rietes bourgeoises et des minuties": Vincent van Gogh, en e f f e t , n'est pas seulement un grand' peintre, enthousiaste de son a r t , de sa palette et de l a nature, c'est encore un reveur, un croyant exalte, un devoreur de b e l l e s utopies, vivant d'idees et de songes. Longtemps, i l s'est complu a imaginer une renovation d'art, possible par un deplacement de c i v i l i s a t i o n : un art des regions t r o p i c a l e s . . . ... Puis, comme consequence de cette conviction au besoin de tout recommencer en a r t , i l eut et longtemps i l caressa l ' i d e e d'inventer une peinture tres simple, populaire, quasiment enfantine, capable d'emouvoir l e s humbles qui ne r a f f i n e n t point et d'etre comprise par les plus n a i f s des pauvre d ' e s p r i t s . . . Vincent van Gogh est a l a f o i s trop simple et trop s u b t i l pour 1'esprit du bourgeois contemporain. I I ne sera jamais pleinement compris que de ses f r e r e s , les a r t i s t e s t r e s a r t i s t e s ... et des heureux de p e t i t peuple, du tout p e t i t peuple... 201 Vincent wrote .to Theo and his s i s t e r that he f e l t Aurier's account had should how he should paint: When I read the a r t i c l e , i t made my almost sad j u s t to think: t h i s i s how I should be and I f e e l myself to be so i n f e r i o r . 202 100. As a consequence of his a r t i c l e on Vincent, Aurier was i n v i t e d to submit a r t reviews to the Revue Independante, then s t i l l much more i n f l u e n t i a l than 203 the newly founded Mercure de France. . Both the Revue Independante, founded by F e l i x Feneon i n 1884, and the Mercure de France were l e f t i s t i n t h e i r 204 views. The p o l i t i c a l a r t i c l e s i n Revue Independante, which "became the most i n f l u e n t i a l of a l l the magazines" published at t h i s time, were "almost 205 completely a n a r c h i s t i c " . Rewald notes: There can be no doubt that several of the smaller symbolist p e r i o d i c a l s which'-had set out to shatter some of the t r a d i t i o n s of French prose and verse eventually expanded t h e i r goals and sought to shatter bourgeois society i t s e l f . One of them even published the s c i e n t i f i c formula for the composition of dynamite. 206 Feneon stated i n an a r t i c l e on Pis s a r r o : Everything new, to be accepted, requires that many o l d fools must d i e . We are longing for t h i s to happen as soon as poss i b l e . This wish i s not at a l l ch a r i t a b l e , i t i s p r a c t i c a l . 207 He claimed that "anarchist terrorism did more to spread propaganda than twenty 208 years of pamphlets". Among many, Piss a r r o and Signac, both of whom Gauguin 209 knew, openly supported the anarchist movement. Moreover, The symbolists and most of t h e i r friends were anarchists. Was i t possible not to be an anarchist when the upper classes . showed themselves so r e s o l u t e l y b l i n d to anything new and beautiful? How could they accept without protest a s o c i a l order i n which the a r t i s t had no r e a l place, i n which he had to struggle a l l his l i f e for recognition... 210 1883 had witnessed the collapse of the P a r i s Stock Exchange with Gauguin 211 l o s i n g h i s job as chief a s s i s t a n t to a stock-broker. With the ensuing 212 economic c r i s i s , there was an acute c r i s i s i n the art market as we l l . The 213 second volume of K a r l Marx's Das K a p i t a l was published i n 1885. In 1887 214 the French President, J . Grevy, resigned over the Wilson scandal. The 215 "Societe des Droits de 1'Homme" was founded the following year. 1888>also saw the height of the Boulangist movement ^ in France which had been " f i r s t and 101. foremost a popular movement of the extreme l e f t , " but degenerated into some-thing of a farce with General Boulanger supporting both conservatives and 216 r a d i c a l s , appealing to l e f t and r i g h t , whatever worked to h i s advantage. 217 He f l e d France on A p r i l 1, 1889 and committed suicide i n 1891. The Worker's Congress i n Paris i n 1889 declared May 1 as a worker's 218 holiday. Legal recognition had been given to trade unions i n 1884. Yet, ... i n many places the setting-up of unions was met by the steady opposition of the employers; the 'associations ouvrieres de production' remained more of a dream than a r e a l i t y ; the repercussions of the economic c r i s i s made the workers more impatient and reform more urgent. 219 In t h i s kind of m i l i e u , A l f r e d V a l l e t t e founded the Mercure de France in \ • 1890 with Albert Aurier as one of i t s major contributors. L i t t l e wonder i t was, i n l i g h t of the above, that the magazine "made no secret of i t s sympathy - ' „ 220 for anarchism . By 1892, a f t e r Gauguin had departed to T a h i t i , the s e r i e s of anarchist 221 bombings had increased. One of the leaders, Ravachol, was arrested and 222 executed. Rewald writes: Among those who contributed to a fund for the d e s t i t u t e children of imprisoned anarchists were Serusier, Camille and Lucien P i s s a r r o , P e t i t j e a n , Mirbeau, Christophe, Feneon... 223 The t e r r o r was so great that according to a c h r o n i c l e r , f o r several weeks Paris presented "the aspect of a besieged c i t y : the streets are deserted, shops closed, omnibuses without passengers, museums and theaters barricaded; the p o l i c e are i n v i s i b l e though present everywhere, troops i n the suburbs are ready to march at the f i r s t s i g n a l . . . 224 Many of the p o l i t i c a l leaders were implicated for corrupt p r a c t i c e s and the government resigned that year due to the corrupt administration of the Panama Company with the public understandably coming to the conclusion that " a l l p o l i t i c i a n s ... were 'pourris' (rotten to the core) and thought of nothing 225 except using t h e i r positions to enrich themselves". Against t h i s background, appeared a lengthy a r t i c l e s by Aurier, "Les 102. Symbolistes," which appeared i n Revue Encyclopedique and which proclaimed that the "uncontested i n i t i a t o r of t h i s a r t i s t i c movement - perhaps someday one may c a l l i t a renaissance - was Paul Gauguin... he decided to leave our ugly c i v i l i z a t i o n f a r behind. . When examining Gauguin's p o l i t i c a l sentiments, one perceives from his statements quoted at the beginning of t h i s chapter about Mette caring too much 227 for money and so on, that he reacted strongly against such bourgeois values. From the discussion of Les Miserables, i t was pointed out that Gauguin saw himself as a v i c t i m of s o c i e t y . Yet i t was only l a t e r i n T a h i t i , that 228 Gauguin p u b l i c l y expressed c r i t i c i s m of the Government. Upon re c e i v i n g no favourable reaction from the l o c a l p o l i c e a f t e r his house had been broken into a number of times, he wrote a l e t t e r to the e d i t o r of Les Guepes about the 229 i n e f f i c i e n c y of the Government. He continued with more a r t i c l e s condemning Governor G a l l e t of the Protestant Party. Encouraged by the i n t e r e s t shown i n his attacks, Gauguin started a four-page i l l u s t r a t e d monthly, c a l l e d Le 230 Sourire,•the f i r s t issue appearing on August 21, 1899. He became ed i t o r of Les Guepes i n 1900 where he condemned the Protestant missionaries' actions 231 and revealed the "contemptible character of the governor's motives". Yet, as Danielsson reveals, sadly, "Gauguin served only the vested i n t e r e s t s of h i s employers," the Catholic Party, who owned Les Guepes:: His r e a l motives were revenge on h i s personal enemies and the need to earn money. 232 Nevertheless, one may sympathize with Gauguin's poor state of existence. Mirbeau's statement of 1891 that Gauguin was " t r u l y tortured by s u f f e r i n g for 2 33 a r t " was exactly the s i t u a t i o n the l e f t i s t s were f i g h t i n g to r e c t i f y , .... envisioning a society of the future i n which the equality of men would assure them the freedom and respect which the present so b i t t e r l y denied them. 234 103. Although he did not consider himself a member of any party sor group, from what has been voiced about h i s continuous struggle f o r s u r v i v a l and recog-n i t i o n , Gauguin's att i t u d e s c e r t a i n l y coincided with Aurier's negative view of society. Aurier, i n h i s 1891 a r t i c l e on Gauguin, strongly supported the i d e i s t 235 tendency i n a r t ; supreme a r t had to be i d e i s t i n nature. Hence the f i n a l goal of painting was to express Ideas. In Oeuvres, Aurier wrote about the p o s s i b i l i t y and the legitimacy granted to the a r t i s t to be" pre-occupied i n h i s work by that i d e i s t i c substratum that i s found everywhere i n the universe and which, according to Plato, was the sole true r e a l i t y : ... c'est conceder l a p o s s i b i l i t e et l a legitimate pour 1' a r t i s t e d'etre preoccupe, en son oeuvre, par ce substratum i d e i s t e qui est partout dans l'univers et qui, selon, Platon, est l a seule vraie r e a l i t e . 235 The a r t i s t who could express these Ideas was a visionary. Aurier maintained that the i d e i s t tendency i n art depended upon the clairvoyancy of the "inner 237 eye of man" as ref e r r e d to by Swedenborg. Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), whom Gauguin re f e r r e d to l a t e r i n Cahier pour A l i n e as "un savant," declared that when seeing v i s i o n s , he used h i s senses exactly as when awake, "dwelling with the s p i r i t s as a s p i r i t , but 238 able to return to h i s body when he pleased." In 1734 h i s Prodomus P h i l o -sophiae R a t i c i n a n t r i o de I n f i n i t e was published, which dealt with the r e l a t i o n of t h e i f i n i t e to the i n f i n i t e and of the soul to the body, seeking to " e s t a b l i s h a d e f i n i t e connection between the two as a means of overcoming 239 the d i f f i c u l t y of t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p . " When Aurier discussed the superior, illuminated man walking i n a temple where "de vivant p i l i e r s Laissent p a r f o i s s o r t i r de confuses paroles nues," and that the imbecile human herd passed by i n et e r n a l blindness "a travers l e s for e t s de symboles Qui l'observent avec des regards f a m i l i e r s , " he was quoting 104. d i r e c t l y from Baudelaire's Correspondances: La Nature est un temple ou de vivants p i l i e r s Laissent p a r f o i s s o r t i r de confuses paroles; L'homme y passe a travers des forets de symboles Qui l'observent avec des regards f a m i l i e r s . Comme les longs echos qui de l o i n se confondent Dans une tenebreuse et profonde unite, Vaste comme l a nu i t et comme l a c l a r t e , Les parfums, les couleurs et les sons se repondent. II est des parfums f r a i s comme des chairs d'enfants, Doux comme les hautbois, verts comme les p r a i r i e s , - Et d'autres, corrompus, riches et triomphants, Ayant 1'expansion des choses i n f i n i e s , Comme l'ambre, l e muse, l e benjoin et l'encens, Qui chantent les transports de 1'esprit et des sens. 240, The Correspon dan ces poem developed out of Baudelaireis belief'ithat the imagination understood the un i v e r s a l analogy, that which a mystical r e l i g i o n c a l l the "correspondence": ... e l l e comprend l'analogie u n i v e r s e l l e , ou ce qu'une r e l i g i o n mystique appelle l a correspondance. 241 For Baudelaire, everything was hieroglyphic; a poet, i n the widest sense, was 242 a t r a n s l a t e r , a decipherer. Baudelaire had been influenced by Swedenborg, 243 v i a Balzac, i n the formation of h i s theory of Correspondances, This theory Baudelaire considered to be the basis for the p o s s i b i l i t y of suggesting one thing-by means of another, sound'.suggesting colour or vice versa, for things, 244 i n h i s mind, had always been expressed by r e c i p r o c a l analogy. Aurier, i n c i t i n g Baudelaire's Correspondances, was thus making an i n d i r e c t reference to Swedenborg's doctrine of correspondences. According to Swedenborg, (e)verything v i s i b l e has belonging to i t an appropriate s p i r i t u a l r e a l i t y ... a l l the mythology and the symbolisms of ancient times were so many r e f r a c t e d or fragmentary corres-pondences - r e l i c s of that better day when every outward object suggested to man's mind i t s appropriate divine t r u t h . Such desultory and uncertain l i n k s 1 bfetweeh the seen and the unseen are so many imperfect attempts toward that harmony of the two worlds which he believed himself commissioned to 105. reveal. The happy thoughts of the a r t i s t , the imaginative analogies of the poet, are exchanged with Swedenborg for an elaborate system. A l l the terms and objects are catalogued i n pairs ... matter and s p i r i t were associated. 245 There existed, for Swedenborg, an agreement between things i n d i f f e r e n t spheres: For a l l divine things are examples; i n t e l l e c t u a l , moral and c i v i l things are types but the images of nature as such and things p h y s i c a l are merely likenesses. 246 Therefore, the a r t i s t who perceived these correspondences, the "concept of natural objects as signs of the Idea, based on a b e l i e f i n the correspondence 247 of higher and lower l e v e l s of being," was the I d e i s t a r t i s t , a v i s i o n a r y . Gauguin, also*, compared a r t to music, claiming that both music and painting acted on the soul through the intermediary of the senses, the harmonies of 248 tones corresponding to the harmonies of sounds. In h i s Notes Synthetiques of 1884-5, Gauguin wrote that instrumental music had, l i k e the numbers, a 249 unity for i t s base. On an instrument one commenced from one tone. In painting one started from many. He spoke of the ju x t a p o s i t i o n of colours: a green beside a red would not give a brown-red l i k e the blend, but two v i b r a t i n g 250 notes. 251 Vincent, too, drew p a r a l l e l s between painting and music. To h i s s i s t e r shortly a f t e r March 30, 1888, from Aries, Vincent described h i s own colour theory, drawing analogies with Wagner: ... by i n t e n s i f y i n g a l l the colors one a r r i v e s once again at quietude and harmony. There occurs i n nature something s i m i l a r to what happens i n Wagner's music, which, though played by a big orchestra, i s nonetheless intimate... 252 And i n the same year he remarked ... I have got back to where I was i n Neunen, when I made a vain attempt to learn music, so much did I already f e e l the r e l a t i o n between our color and Wagner's music. 253 Wagner and h i s theories of synthesis were of course very well known 106. throughout Paris at t h i s time and no doubt both Vincent and Gauguin came into . , , . , 254 contact with these ideas. ^ Returning once more to Aurier's a r t i c l e of 1891, he f e l t that the s t y l i s -t i c consequences of an Ideist philosophy of art led to a necessary s i m p l i f i -255 cation i n the writing of the sign. The i d e i s t a r t i s t had to avoid concrete truth and he had to u t i l i z e i n h i s work only those l i n e s , forms and colours which expressed i d e i s t i c s i g n i f i c a n c e of the object, to exaggerate these d i r e c t l y s i g n i f i c a n t characters - forms, l i n e s , colours, e t c . - not only following his i n d i v i d u a l v i s i o n but also following the need of the Idea to be 256 expressed. Hence a work of art had to be i d e i s t , symbolist, synthetic, u- 2 5 7 subjective. As was already shown i n Chapter Two, Gauguin was a strong opponent of i l l u s i o n i s m or l i t e r a l truth or n a t u r a l i s t i c representation; he advocated exaggerating, s i m p l i f y i n g and organizing forms i n order to depict h i s own r e a l i t y . On August 14, 1888, Gauguin wrote to Schuffenecker that h i s own work contained: ... synthese d'une forme et d'une couleur en ne considerant l a dominante. 258 259 The term "synthese" was i n frequent use by 1888. Mallarme, i n 1867, i n a l e t t e r wrote about creating a perfect synthesis of things: "En creant 260 une p a r f a i t e synthese desachoses ..." The term i s used in Neo-platonism as w e l l : ... i n i t the Mind appears as the synthetic function which creates p l u r a l i t y out of i t s own higher.unity. From t h i s general point of view the Neo-platonists worked out the psychology of knowledge under the p r i n c i p l e of the a c t i v i t y of consciousness. For according to t h i s view the 'higher soul' can no longer be considered as passive, but i n accordance with i t s essence only as active also i n a l l i t s functions. A l l of i t s i n s i g h t rests on the synthesis of various moments; even where knowledge i s r e l a t e d to the sensible datum the body only i s passive, whereas the soul 107. i s active i n becoming conscious of i t ; and exactly the same thing holds for sensory f e e l i n g s and a f f e c t s . 261 Gustave Kahn, i n 1887, "had used the adverb ' s y n t h e t i c a l l y ' to describe the way i n which Seurat and h i s associates treated the human f i g u r e , comparing the 262 r e s u l t to the e f f e c t of ancient studies". Feneon had employed the term i n May 1887 i n h i s a r t i c l e , "Le Neo-Impressionisme"(L'Art Moderne); "synthetiser 263 l e paysage dans un aspect d e f i n i t i f qui en perpetue l a sensation." One ought to r e c a l l Baudelaire's use of the word (Chapter Two), with which Aurier was i n a l l l i k e l i h o o d f a m i l i a r (Baudelaire described Constantin Guys' work as being " s y n t h e t i c " and had equated "s y n t h e t i c " with the p r i m i t i v e ) . One should remember, as w e l l , that Gauguin had e n t i t l e d his reply to the c r i t i c s , Notes Synthdtiques - as R o s k i l l asserts, " i n reference to the claims which he made 264 there for painting's superior powers of synthesis". Jirat-Wasiutynski f e e l s that what gave r i s e to a synthetic process was the concept of "sensation": ... the a r t i s t s and c r i t i c s of the 1880s redefined the concept of the "sensation" which had served as the basis for Impressionist a e s t h e t i c s . Sensation conceived as a simple p h y s i o l o g i c a l response to v i s u a l s t i m u l i was replaced by sensation as a complex psychological process incorporating personal v i s i o n . 265 In 1886, Aurier had written: Le v r a i , en e f f e c t le p o s i t i f , r e e l , n'est-ce pas l a matiere objective? Les n a t u r a l i s t e s avait une bonne conception de l ' a r t : reproduire l a vie t e l l e qu'elle e s t . Mais i l s oublierent trop que les phenomenes ne t i r a i e n t pas leurs caracteres de leurs elements o b j e c t i f s . I l s se perdirent dans l a description et 1'analyse de ces elements et, par consequent, produisirent non une reele v i s i o n de l a v i e , mais des sortes de catalogues inaimes, des proces verbaux. L'Art nouveau, au contraire, proclame l a necessite de f a c s i m i l e r exactement l a v i s i o n t e l l e qu'elle est (c'est v r a i naturalisme)... 266 Aurier i d e n t i f i e d the language of the new a r t as " l a langue des sensations". 108. Noting Feneon's use of the term above, he had written i n h i s review of the 1887 Independants e x h i b i t i o n : Parmi l a cohue des machinaux copistes des e x t e r i o r i t e s , i l s imposent ... l a sensation meme de l a v i e : c'est que l a r e a l i t e objective leur est simple, theme a l a creation d'une r e a l i t e superieure et sublimee ou leur personnalite se . transfuse. 268 In a review of J.F. Henner's paintings ("J.F. Henner," Le Moderniste i l l u s t r e , I, nos. 2, 13: 13 & 20 a v r i l , 1889, p. 10), Aurier claimed that Henner wanted to produce a work that was the synthesis of sensations, ideas, moral impressions, the philosophies of the a r t i s t s : Produire une oeuvre qui s o i t l a synthese des sensations, des idees, des impressions morales, des philosophies du Moi de 1 ' a r t i s t e . . . 269 In Notes Synthetiques, Gauguin had maintained that painting was the most b e a u t i f u l of a l l a r t s : In i t a l l sensations were condensed, at i t s aspect everyone could create romance at the w i l l of h i s imagination, and at a glance have his soul invaded by the most profound memories, no e f f o r t s of memory, everything summed up i n the one moment. Complete art which sums up a l l the others and completes them. To judge painting and music s p e c i a l sensations i n nature are necessary besides i n t e l l i g e n c e and a r t i s t i c science. In short, one has to be a born a r t i s t , and few are chosen among a l l those who are c a l l e d . (Pour juger l a peinture et l a musique, i l faut - en outre de 1 ' i n t e l l i g e n c e et de l a science a r t i s t i q u e - des sensations speciales dans l a nature, i l faut etre, en un mot, ne a r t i s t e et peu sont elus parmi tous les appeles). Any idea may be formulated, but not so, the sensations of the heart.... The vaguest, the most undefinable, the most varied, that i s matter. Thinking i s a slave of sensations. 270 To Schuffenecker i n January, 1888 Gauguin also wrote about t h i s concept of sensations: . .. Depuis longtemps l e s philosophes raisonnent l e s phenomenes qui nous paraissent surnaturels et dont on a cependant l a sensation. Tout est l a , dans ce mot. Les Raphael et autres, des gens chez qui l a sensation e t a i t formulee bien avant l a pensee, ce qui leur a permis, tout 109. en dtudiant, de ne jamais detruire cette sensation, et res t e r des a r t i s t e s . Et pour moi^le grand a r t i s t e est l a formule de l a plus grande i n t e l l i g e n c e , a l u i a r r i v e n t les sentiments, les traductions l e s plus d e l i c a t e s et par suite les plus i n v i s i b l e s du cerveau. 271 Gauguin claimed that for a long time philosophers had reasoned about pheno-mena which seemed supernatural and of which nonetheless one had the sensation. Everything was i n t h i s word. For Gauguin, the great a r t i s t was synonymous with the greatest i n t e l l i g e n c e ; from: him came the f e e l i n g , the t r a n s l a t i o n of the most d e l i c a t e and as a r e s u l t of the most i n v i s i b l e emotions of the b r a i n . In his a r t i c l e Aurier claimed that a r t as the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Primitives understood i t , was a manifestation of art at once subjective, 272 synthetic, symbolist and i d e i s t . I t was created to decorate bare walls with thoughts, dreams and ideas. Aurier associated decorative wall painting with primitivism. I d e i s t art was i d e n t i c a l with p r i m i t i v e art which had been discovered by the i n s t i n c t i v e geniuses of the e a r l i e s t time of humanity 273 (p. 51). Charles Morice was l a t e r to quote Gauguin as saying that p r i m i -t i v e a r t proceeded from the s p i r i t and used nature: L'art p r i m i t i f procede de 1'esprit et emploie l a nature. L'art soi-disant r a f f i n e precede de l a sensualite et sert l a nature ... 274 In La L i t t e r a t u r e de tout a l'heure of 1889, Morice equated p r i m i t i v e and r e l i g i o u s a r t , with the b e l i e f that the p r i m i t i v e was able to perceive the 275 basic truths of existence and to r e v e a l an ultimate r e l i g i o u s r e a l i t y . One has already witnessed in Chapter Two Gauguin's deep-rooted i n t e r e s t i n primi-t i v e art and how his own work was consequently influenced by i t . To what extent Gauguin may have been at a l l ' f a m i l i a r with the i d e i s t 276 philosophy of art before 1888 cannot be p r e c i s e l y ascertained. Such ideas existed i n both Swedenborg's writings and Balzac's Sdraphita and Louis . 277 Lambert. That Gauguin was aware of Balzac's works, i n which Swedenborg's 110. philosophies played a major r o l e , i s recorded by Charles Morice: Ses auteurs preferes sont Balzac et Poe. Non pas l e Balzac des grands romans d'analyse, mais c e l u i des Etudes philoso-phiques, de l a Recherche de l'Absolu, de Louis Lambert et surtout de Seraphita. I l a pour ce p e t i t l i v r e un c u l t e , i l pretend y trouver tout Balzac; c'est une opinion. 278 A d i r e c t reference to Balzac's Louis Lambert and Seraphita comes on page 12 279 verso of Gauguin's Cahier pour Aline of 1893. Richard Sampson F i e l d informs us that "the phrase Seraphitas-Serphita" appears now and then i n Gauguin's 2 80 writings, i n c l u d i n g the l a s t page of the s o - c a l l e d Sourire of 1899-1900. Whether or not Gauguin was reading Balzac p r i o r to 1888 i s d i f f i c u l t to prove. 281 Van Gogh c e r t a i n l y was. and may have exposed Gauguin to Balzac's views. Balzac's writings were f i l l e d with Swedenborg's doctrines. Seraphita contains an e n t i r e chapter about Swedenborg's l i f e , h i s writings, his v i s i o n s , l i s t i n g his works. The documentary i s narrated by a character i n the story, 282 Pastor Becker, who has a l l of Swedenborg's l i t e r a t u r e i n h i s l i b r a r y . He 283 r e l a t e s Swedenborg's theory of Correspondences. The phenomena of seership 284 i s described i n Seraphita and also i n Louis Lambert. The seer, Louis Lambert, maintained that, Facts are nothing; they do not subsist; a l l that l i v e s of us i s the Idea. 285 Lines and numbers were assigned s p e c i a l properties by.him as w e l l : Why are there so few s t r a i g h t l i n e s i n Nature? {Why i s i t that man, i n h i s structures, r a r e l y introduces curves? Why i s i t that he alone, of a l l creatures, has a sense of straightness? * * • Number, which produces va r i e t y of a l l kinds, also gives r i s e to Harmony, which, in the highest meaning of the word i s the r e l a t i o n of parts to the whole. Three and seven are the two chief s p i r i t u a l numbers. Three i s the formula of created worlds. I t i s the s p i r i t u a l sign of the creation, as i t i s the M a t e r i a l Sign of dimension. In f a c t , God has worked by curved l i n e s only: the Straight Line i s an a t t r i b u t e of the I n f i n i t e , and man, who has the 111. presentiment of the I n f i n i t e , reproduces i t i n h i s works. Two i s the number of generation. Three i s the number of L i f e which includes generation and o f f s p r i n g . Add the sum of four and you have Seven, the formula of Heaven. Above a l l i s God; He i s the Unit. 286 In Seraphita Swedenborg maintained that "the s p i r i t penetrates the sense of 287 numbers; i t masters them a l l and knows t h e i r meaning." In Gauguin's l e t t e r to Schuffenecker from Copenhagen, January 14, 1885, he discussed the immense creation of nature and i t s laws where there were noble and f a l s e l i n e s , where the s t r a i g h t l i n e reached to i n f i n i t y , and the curve l i m i t e d creation: Gauguin pondered whether the figures three and seven had been s u f f i c i e n t l y discussed: Observez dans 1'immense creation de l a nature et vous verrez s ' i l n'y a pas l o i s pour creer avec des. aspects tout d i f f e r e n t s et cependant semblables dans leur e f f e c t , tous les sentiments humains... J'en conelus q u ' i l y a des lignes nobles, menteuses, etc. La ligne d r o i t donne l ' i n f i n i , l a courbe l i m i t e l a creation, sans, compter l a f a t a l i t e dans les nombres. Les c h i f f r e s 3 et 7 o n t ' i l s £te assez discutes?... 288 There i s , i n short, reason to believe that Gauguin was indeed f a m i l i a r with Balzac's l i t e r a t u r e or at least Swedenborgian 'philosophy and mysticism. In many ways, Aurier does not .give such an exaggerated account of Gauguin and V i s i o n apres l e sermon as may f i r s t appear. Gauguin, i n f a c t , was f a m i l i a r with many of Aurier's ideas. What has been sa i d i n t h i s chapter of Gauguin i n the r o l e of a s p i r i t u a l - a r t i s t i c leader seems to r e i n f o r c e Aurier's b e l i e f s about Gauguin. Aurier's numerous references to i d e i s t a r t and Swedenborgian philosophy were commonly used i n symbolist c i r c l e s of t h i s period. Lehmann informs one that " O r l i a c (La Cathedrale symboliste, 1933), among many others, finds in the whole course of French l i t e r a t u r e a subterranean thread of mysticism making i t s appearance i n Chateaubriand, Lamartine, in. Balzac; and (i n the period under review) i n the illuminism of de Guaita, Papus, M. Barres, Paul Adam, Dubus, Morice, Schure, Vullia u d , Peladan, and others. Teodor de 112. Wyzewa, wr i t i n g i n the Revue Independante i n 1887, gives a long l i s t of recently published works of mystical tendency which c e r t a i n l y suggests a 289 f l o u r i s h i n g market for t h i s l i t e r a t u r e . . . " As has been suggested above, Gauguin's epoch was that i n which "pre-occupation with theosophy, s p i r i t u a l i s m and occultism was p a r t i c u l a r l y 290 strong". The Catholic fervor of the above-mentioned a r t i s t s was "part of the general phenomenon of the symbolist m i l i e u of the f i n - d e - s i e c l e , which witnessed ... s t a r t l i n g conversions to extreme r e l i g i o u s i t y in, Verlaine, 291 Huysmans, Claudel and Peguy". J. Gauguin's Exposure to and Interest i n Religion V i s i o n apres l e sermon was Gauguin's f i r s t p o r t r a y a l of a r e l i g i o u s 292 theme. Many a r t i s t s r e s i d i n g with Gauguin at Pont-Aven i n 1888 were r e l i g -i o u s l y and/or m y s t i c a l l y i n c l i n e d i n one way or another. Paul Serusier, a devout Catholic, whom Gauguin had directed i n the painting of The Talisman i n October, 1888, was attracted.;to Plotinus and also to theosophy - Schure"'s .. 293 Les grands i n i t i e s . In 1893 he was to write that i t , was in Brit t a n y that 294 he had undergone his s p i r i t u a l b i r t h . In 1895 he was to become a p u p i l of the Benedictines at Beuron i n Germany and i n 1903, as indicated i n a l e t t e r 295 to Jan Verkade, he began studying the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas. Maurice Denis was "a p r a c t i c i n g Catholic with mystical tendencies." Jaworska notes that "he had been c a l l e d to serve h i s f a i t h by a s s i s t i n g the 296 regeneration and r e v i v a l of r e l i g i o u s a r t . " Charles F i l i g e r who ar r i v e d at the Pension Gloanec on July 13, 1889, fused "the Catholicism i n s t i l l e d into him with the s p i r i t u a l i s m p r a c t i s e d i n s o c i a l c i r c l e s connected with the Societe de l a Rose+Croix, under the aegis of which organization he exhibited i n h i s capacity as a 'r e l i g i o u s painter' „297 113. A Dutch a r t i s t , Jan Verkade, a l a t e r a r r i v a l at Pont-Aven i n 1891 converted to Catholicism there and was baptised at Vannes i n 1892. He l a t e r became a monk. Jaworska notes, The r e l i g i o u s tendencies of Verkade probably dated from the early days of h i s acquaintance with Serusier, who prevail e d on him to read "Les grands i n i t i o s , ' the B i b l e and Balzac's Seraphita." 298 Mogens B a l l i n , a Danish painter of Jewish o r i g i n , who f i r s t presented himself at Gauguin's farewell banquet, also became a Catholic a few days a f t e r Verkade's conversion. Not long a f t e r h i s baptism he was admitted to the 299 Third Order of St. Francis. Maisels shows how Gauguin, through h i s upbringing and education, would have had a knowledge of the Bi b l e and would have been thoroughly f a m i l i a r with the p r a c t i c e and iconography of C h r i s t i a n i t y . ^ ® Gauguin was born into a 301 Catholic home. In Avant et Apres he wrote about h i s childhood i n Peru, r e c a l l i n g , among other things, the church, the dome of which was e n t i r e l y carved wood, and the negro g i r l , who, according to custom, c a r r i e d to church 302 the rug on which they knelt to pray. From ages eleven to sixteen, 303 Gauguin attended the Jes u i t seminary, the P e t i t Seminaire i n Orleans, France. 304 Yet l a t e r when he married Met Gad, a Lutheran service was held. From Copenhagen, on May 24, 1885, Gauguin wrote to Schuffenecker about the Danes, with respect to t h e i r r e l i g i o u s leanings, complaining that he had been under-mined by c e r t a i n Protestant devotees, to begin with, the Countess de Moltke, who had agreed to pay the boarding school fees for h i s son Emil, only to stop doing so for r e l i g i o u s reasons: I c i j ' a i ete sape en dessous par quelques bigotes protestantes, on s a i t que j e suis un impie, aussi on voudrait me v o i r tomber. Les Jesuites sont de l a St. Jean aupres des r e l i g i e u x protestants, aussi pour commencer l a Comtesse de Moltke, qui payait l a pension de mon f i l s Emil, a supprime immediatement pour cause r e l i g i e u s e , vous comprehez, r i e n a d i r e . . . 305 114. From his writings up to 1888 there i s no i n d i c a t i o n that Gauguin was e s p e c i a l l y 306 r e l i g i o u s i n the t r a d i t i o n a l sense of the word. And l i k e many of the painters he was acquainted with, such as Pissarro, Degas, Cezanne, et c . , there existed a lack of r e l i g i o u s r e p e r t o i r e i n h i s work p r i o r to the painting of 307 Vision apres l e sermon. Yet as was shown i n Chapter Two, a l l of Gauguin's work was not completely secular e i t h e r . His art displayed a personal approach, with the in c l u s i o n of somewhat ambiguous images. The abundance of Breton subject matter i n his oeuvre between 1886-88 also indicates a strong i n t e r e s t i n t h e i r way of l i f e , t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s and pastimes. He wrote to Mette i n February, 1888, that he wished to work i n Brittany for seven to eight, months, to penetrate the character of the people of the country, an e s s e n t i a l thing i n the making of paintings: ... i l me faut t r a v a i l l e r 7-8 mois a l a f i l e , penetre du caractere des gens du pays, chose e s s e n t i e l l e pour f a i r e de l a bonne peinture. 308 In September, 1888, a f t e r painting V i s i o n apres l e sermon, Gauguin informed Vincent that he had made a r e l i g i o u s painting and described the people i n the work, concluding that he had achieved i n the figures a great r u s t i c and super-309 s t i t i o u s s i m p l i c i t y , the whole being very severe. Gauguin had written to Schuffenecker around February, 1888 that he f ound the p r i m i t i v e and savage i n 310 Brittany, that he wanted to f i n d the same thing i n his painting. This he managed by achieving the great r u s t i c and sup e r s t i t i o u s s i m p l i c i t y i n the figures of Vi s i o n apres l e sermon. As noted i n Chapter Two, Gauguin i n t e r -i preted the pious and supe r s t i t i o u s nature of the Breton peasants i n t h e i r customs and t r a d i t i o n s as p r i m i t i v e . In s t r i v i n g for a r u s t i c and s u p e r s t i -tious s i m p l i c i t y i n his p o r t r a y a l of the figures and manner of representation ( i . e . style) Gauguin was r e a l i z i n g his search f o r the p r i m i t i v e i n his 311 painting as well as h i s l i f e . The quest for the p r i m i t i v e was for Gauguin 115. 312 a r e l i g i o u s and mystical one. Just as Cezanne was, for Gauguin, a mystic, a man of the Levant, meditating for hours on h i l l t o p s - so too Gauguin with 313 h i s Peruvian roots, the exposure to P r i m i t i v e countries, h i s wish to f i n d an environment unfettered by c i v i l i z a t i o n ( r e s u l t i n g i n h i s stay at Martinique and B r i t t a n y ) , h i s growing b e l i e f that he himself was a savage, his wearing of Breton clothes and wooden shoes, a l l t h i s expresses a search for s e l f -r e a l i z a t i o n - not through conventional, c i v i l i z e d means, but i n h i s own way, by a return to a p r i m i t i v e state, a q u a l i t y which Gauguin, as he himself claimed, strove to express in, h i s art as w e l l . Thus the search for the p r i m i t i v e i s a r e l i g i o u s and visionary one, and V i s i o n apres l e sermon a r e l i g i o u s painting, not only because of i t s subject matter, but also due to the r u s t i c and s u p e r s t i t i o u s s i m p l i c i t y achieved i n the s t y l e of the f i g u r e s . 314 Gauguin wanted to give V i s i o n apres l e sermon to the Breton church of Nizon. 315 He believed that the work would f i t the stained glass.^and stone i n t e r i o r . 316 Why the cur6 refused the painting i s not c l e a r l y known. Certainly Gauguin's gesture was genuine. He did not wish, l i k e Denis, to reform the Church with 317 h i s a r t . It was h i s wish to i d e n t i f y with the p r i m i t i v e i n B r i t t a n y . As V i s i o n apres l e sermon, i n Gauguin's estimation, r e f l e c t e d the p r i m i t i v e , r u s t i c and superstitious q u a l i t i e s of the Breton a t t i t u d e to l i f e and r e l i g i o n , so did he believe that h i s p a i n t i n g should n a t u r a l l y harmonize with and be a part of the Breton environment. I t i s not d i f f i c u l t therefore to understand that Gauguin's reason for choosing to depict a b i b l i c a l story would also have to be personal. His was a personal i n t e r e s t i n r e l i g i o n - a r e f u s a l to be t i e d down to any dogma. From what was noted above about Gauguin's opinion of himself as the seer-i l l u m i n a t o r struggling to gain a r t i s t i c leadership, dreaming i n front of nature to paint h i s own visionary experience, i t w i l l become apparent i n the 116. next chapter that the use of the b i b l i c a l subject - Jacob wrestling with the Angel - i n V i s i o n apres le sermon, was the best means of self-expression for what Gauguin wished to state about himself, h i s surroundings and h i s a r t . 117. CHAPTER FOUR: GAUGUIN'S INTENTIONS IN HIS USE OF IMAGERY IN VISION APRES LE SERMON In l i g h t of the foregoing discussion about the work of art i n the 1880's becoming the v i s i o n of the seer, of the visionary a r t i s t , t h i s chapter w i l l demonstrate how Gauguin's Visio n apres l e sermon i s a painting of the a r t i s t ' s own v i s i o n . The functions of the various elements and t h e i r arrangement i n the work w i l l be discussed and the reasons for t h e i r i n c l u s i o n i n the painting w i l l be examined i n order to show how Vi s i o n aprfes l e sermon served as a personal statement of Gauguin's views and asp i r a t i o n s at the time of i t s execution. A. P a r a l l e l s Between Gauguin and the Character of Jacob It w i l l be .argued, knowing the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel, that Gauguin i d e n t i f i e d with the character of Jacob - i n h i s character and aspi r a t i o n s , the a r t i s t was very much l i k e Jacob who wrestled with the angel u n t i l the breaking of the day (Gen. 32, v. 24). When the angel sees that he cannot p r e v a i l over Jacob, he touches the hollow of Jacob's thigh and puts i t out of j o i n t , yet Jacob continues to wrestle with the angel (Gen. 32, v. 25). When the angel asks Jacob to l e t him go because the day i s breaking, Jacob responds that he w i l l not l e t go u n t i l the angel belsses him. Jacob does not give i n u n t i l the angel blesses him and gives him the name of I s r a e l . Gauguin, i n h i s unwillingness to give up h i s struggle displays a s i m i l a r determination i n s t r i v i n g to gain a r t i s t i c recognition and leadership."*" In the b i b l i c a l story, Jacob, considered a leader among men, was also somewhat of a c r a f t y schemer - for example, when he t r i c k e d h i s brother, Esau, into s e l l i n g him h i s b i r t h r i g h t (Gen. 25, v. 29-34). Jacob also deceived h i s father, Isaac, into b e l i e v i n g he was Esau, Isaac's f i r s t - b o r n , 118. i n order to receive h i s father's blessing which included a legacy meant for 2 Esau (Gen. 27, v. 1-40). A p a r a l l e l may be drawn between t h i s conspiring side of Jacob's character and a s i m i l a r t r a i t of Gauguin's. Pis s a r r o wrote on January 22, 1887 that Gauguin's success came from years of work as a 3 sectarian. Vincent, too, despite h i s deep admiration f o r Gauguin perceived him i n a d i f f e r e n t l i g h t ; i n discussing with Theo, Gauguin's plans to come to Ar i e s , he wrote i n September, 1888: I f e e l i n s t i n c t i v e l y that Gauguin i s a schemer who, seeing himself at the bottom of the s o c i a l ladder, wants to regain a p o s i t i o n by means which w i l l c e r t a i n l y be honest, but at the same time very p o l i t i c . . . I cannot blame Gauguin - speculator though he may be as • soon as he wants to r i s k something i n business, only I w i l l have nothing to do with i t . 4 Gauguin had s a r c a s t i c a l l y written to Mette on May 24, 1886, that he believed that the mob was always r i g h t (including Mette in t h i s group), that i t s members were angels and he an atrocious s c a m p . I n h i s e c l e c t i c nature and h i s unwillingness to admit sources of i n s p i r a t i o n , Gauguin, as an a r t i s t , displayed a cunning side of his nature as w e l l . When Jacob wrestles with the angel, he wins the match and i s blessed yet at the same time h i s thigh i s put out of j o i n t by the angel having touched i t ; hence Jacob, having s t r i v e n with God has prevailed, but at the expense of i n j u r i n g h i s thigh. Jacob's struggle may be equated to the s u f f e r i n g which Gauguin experienced and endured i n s t r i v i n g to become the a r t i s t and leader he envisioned for himself. In an undated l e t t e r to Mette from about February 1888, Gauguin, p r i o r to leaving for Brittany for a second time, begged her not to give up b e l i e v i n g i n him, to hold on for another year.^ Yet during the course of h i s a r t i s t i c endeavours, Gauguin l o s t Mette and h i s children and endured economic i l l s , d e c lining health and adverse c r i t i c i s m . Later i n 1890 from Pouldu, Gauguin wrote to Bernard that s a c r i f i c e s had to be made i n a r t , 119. but that the moment one r e a l i z e d a dream - however b r i e f l y - was i n i t s e l f compensation enough and was more potent than a l l earthly things. He maintained that they, pioneer a r t i s t s and thinkers, were destined to succumb to the blows of the world, but to succumb only so f a r as they were f l e s h . ^ Like Jacob, continuing to wrestle, even with h i s thigh out of j o i n t (Gen. 32, v. 25), Gauguin, with equally strong determination and w i l l , continued to struggle as an a r t i s t , while experiencing the "coups du monde". Like Jacob who would not l e t go of the angel u n t i l he had received the b l e s s i n g , Gauguin was not w i l l i n g to give up the a r t i s t i c b a t t l e u n t i l he had succeeded i n gaining recognition. Both Jacob and Gauguin, i n t h e i r struggle for leadership, demonstrate an a s p i r i n g and persistent nature. Like Jacob, Gauguin, i n h i s own way, had " s t r i v e n with God and with men" (G. 32, v. 28). But Gauguin, i n V i s i o n apres  l e sermon, paints Jacob "striv.[ing] with God and with men" and not yet having "prevailed" (G. 32, v. 28) over them. This manner of representing the struggle i s appropriate: for i n 1888, Gauguin's own b a t t l e f o r a r t i s t i c recognition and leadership was not yet over. Thus he portrayed himself as Jacob by depicting the b i b l i c a l leader at the height of the struggle. B. Gauguin as P r i e s t i n V i s i o n apres : l e sermon Not only did Gauguin see himself as Jacob but i t i s very l i k e l y that he also perceived himself i n the r o l e of the p r i e s t depicted at the lower r i g h t of h i s p a i n t i n g . The Breton p r i e s t , as described i n Francis Gostling's The Bretons at Home (1909), was an important community and s p i r i t u a l leader: ... the p r i e s t has mounted the p u l p i t and i s giving out the text, and the faces of the men grow eager as they l i s t e n , f o r i t i s the sermon which i n t e r e s t s them, i t i s t h e i r Sunday News. These sermons i n Western Brittany are a great i n s t i t u t i o n . Most of the Breton p r i e s t s are fine-preachers and know how to hold t h e i r audiences spell-bound for a good three-quarters of an hour. They deal i n p o l i t i c s as well as i n morals, and are f e a r l e s s and outspoken... 8 120. Not only Jacob, therefore, but also the p r i e s t i n Gauguin's painting should be considered a leader; a f t e r a l l , i t was he who delivered the sermon about Jacob wrestling with the angel and hence i n s p i r e d the occurrence of the v i s i o n . Thus the p r i e s t and Jacob in V i s i o n apres l e sermon are c l o s e l y associated through t h e i r capacity to lead. Moreover, the p r i e s t ' s r o l e i n the Breton way of l i f e and i n the painting may be likened to Gauguin's own view of himself and the kind of s p i r i t u a l leader-seer he himself aspired to be. His followers and supporters perceived him i n this l i g h t . Vincent's b e l i e f s point to Gauguin's r o l e ; planning the a r t i s t i c community and Gauguin's a r r i v a l to A r i e s , Vincent, w r i t i n g to Theo c a l l s Gauguin an abbot: ... when i t i s a question of several painters l i v i n g a community l i f e , I s t i p u l a t e at the outset that there must be an abbot to keep order, and that would n a t u r a l l y be Gauguin... It does not matter i f you stay with the Goupils or not, you have committed yourself to Gauguin body and s o u l . So you w i l l be one of the f i r s t or the f i r s t dealer-apostle. I can see my own painting coming to l i f e , and likewise a work • among the a r t i s t s . . . ... Gauguin's fare comes before everything e l s e , to the detriment of your pocket and mine. Before everything e l s e . 9 Although i n Gauguin's painting, Jacob's features are so abstracted and simply rendered as to appear l i t t l e more than distinguishable, the p r i e s t , because of h i s proximity to the viewer, has c l e a r l y defined features. The deeply inset eyes, the heavy eyelids and rather hooked nose, the curve of the cheekbone and sloping chin are e a s i l y d i s c e r n i b l e and when compared to s e l f - p o r t r a i t s , paintings and photographs of Gauguin are without a doubt seen to be those of the a r t i s t himself."^ Because he believed and wished others to believe he was a leader and visionary, Gauguin, i t appears, portrayed himself i n the characters of both Jacob and the p r i e s t . i 2 i : C. Interpretation of the Composition of Vi s i o n apres le sermon 1. The Theatre-like Arrangement of the Painting The grouping of the figures around the. wrestlers, situated as though watching a t h e a t r i c a l performance, the foreground figures from a balcony and the l e f t side figures from the orchestra, with the tree trunk a c t i n g l i k e the edge of a stage, i s in composition very s i m i l a r to many paintings of the time depicting performances on stage, e s p e c i a l l y , for example, Daumier's The  Melodrama (1856-60) The idea of connecting the theatre w^iteh" V i s i o n apres l e sermon i s not as odd as might f i r s t appear. As w i l l be remembered from Chapter One, the b i b l i -c a l story of Jacob was being performed as a play i n B r i t t a n y . As w e l l , theatre i n P a r i s at t h i s time (*1880s) was t h r i v i n g . Indeed P a r i s l i f e i t s e l f was theatre. Roger Shattuck i n Banquet Years describes t h i s era, a l l of P a r i s being a stage and a l l of i t s inhabitants wearing costumes. Writing about the construction of the Opera and the Theatre-Francais'.he says of P a r i s : ... She had become a stage, a vast theatre for h e r s e l f and a l l the world. For t h i r t y years the frock coats and monocles, the toppers and bowlers (chapeaux hauts de forme and chapeaux melon) seemed to be designed to f i t t h i s vast stage-set, along with the l a d i e s long dresses and corsets and e c l i p s i n g hats. Street cleaners i n blue-denim, gendarmes in trim capes, butchers i n leather aprons, coachmen i n black cutaways, the army's crack chasseurs i n plumes, gold-braid, and polished boots - everyone wore a costume and displayed himself to the best advantage ... l i v i n g had become incr e a s i n g l y a s p e c i a l kind of performance... 12 Gauguin himself wore his Breton costume and h i s wooden shoes while i n P a r i s 13 so that he too was assuming a r o l e - that of a Breton peasant. A r t i s t s themselves were at times d i r e c t l y involved with the theatre. It 14 was not unusual for them to be commissioned to design programmes or scenery. Gauguin himself was f a m i l i a r with materials and designs used i n theatre. He seemed f u l l y aware of the concept of theatre - l i f e as theatre - as i t existed 122. in h i s own times. In Notes Synthetiques, Gauguin wrote that one needed the 16 theatre to compliment one's work. In Avant et Apres he claimed that h i s own theatre was L i f e : in i t he found everything, actors, scenery, the noble and the t r i v i a l , tears and laughter. When moved, he ceased to be the auditor and became the actor. The a r t i s t contemplated about the theatre widening i n pr i m i t i v e l i f e . He maintained that nothing troubled h i s judgment, not even", the judgment; of others. He looked at the stage whenever he and he alone chose, without constraint, without even a p a i r of gloves."'"7 Hence, as he himself suggests, Gauguin can be the auditor - the p r i e s t - or the actor -Jacob - in Vis ion apres l e sermon. The concept of theatre had a deep s i g n i f i c a n c e for many a r t i s t s . Mallarme, i n his a r t i c l e , "Richard Wagner: Reverie d'un poete f r a n c a i s " for the Revue Wagnerienne, wrote about Wagner's b e l i e f s i n wishing to transform the theatre into a "temple and the spectacle a ceremony i n which the masses p a r t i c i p a t e i n 18 a sacred r i t e . " Baudelaire, i n h i s "Letter sur l a musique" extracted a passage from one of Wagner's books about the i d e a l r e l a t i o n s h i p between the theatre and p u b l i c l i f e , , the ancient Greek theatre and i t s r e l i g i o u s nature: ... l a , l e theatre n'ouvrait son enceinte qu'a de certaines solennites ou s'accomplissait ,une fete r e l i g i e u s e qu'accompagn-aient .les jouissances de l ' a r t . Les hommes les plus distingues de l ' E t a t prenaient a ces solennites une part d i r e c t e comme poetes ou directeurs; i l s paraissaient comme les pretres aux yeux de l a population assemblee de l a c i t e . . . 19 The most distinguished men i n the State took a d i r e c t part i n f e s t i v a l s as poets or d i r e c t o r s ; i n the eyes of the assembled population they seemed l i k e p r i e s t s . For Wagner and his followers a t h e a t r i c a l performance was i d e a l l y a s p i r i t u a l experience. Gauguin was f a m i l i a r with the ideas of both Baudelaire and Wagner and hence most l i k e l y aware of the r e l i g i o u s s i g n i f i c a n c e they a t t r i b u t e d to theatre. In Vision apres l e sermon, he uses a t h e a t r i c a l structure to portray 123: a r e l i g i o u s event. His painting depicts a s p i r i t u a l experience i n a t h e a t r i -c a l s e t t i n g showing that f or Gauguin, too, theatre might w e l l have had a r e l i g i o u s importance. Thus not only d i d the t h e a t r e - l i k e arrangement of V i s i o n apres l e sermon provide a stage f o r Gauguin as auditor and actor but i t also had iconographic s i g n i f i c a n c e i n i t s use of theatre to portray the occurrence of a v i s i o n . 2. Functions of the Tree The structure of the tree i n Visio n apres le sermon stretching from lower r i g h t to upper l e f t i s important. I t i s bent j u s t as Jacob.is bent under the 21 angel's force. The tree also emerges from the d i r e c t i o n of the p r i e s t , suggesting a connection between himself and Jacob. Because of i t s angle, the tree also reminds one of Jacob's ladder: And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of i t reached to heaven: and behold the angels . of God, ascending and descending on i t (Gen. 28: 12). No doubt for Gauguin, the diagonal trunk symbolized the Tree of Knowledge; he 22 himself r e f e r r e d to i t as "un pommier," an apple t r e e . It'seems most appro-p r i a t e then that the p r i e s t and Jacob, both s p i r i t u a l leaders, appear c l o s e l y associated with the Tree of Knowledge. In Gustave Moreau's paintings of Jacob and the angel, a tree i s also depicted, but d i r e c t l y behind the angel who i s leaning on one of i t s branches, suggesting a strong r e l a t i o n s h i p between the two - the angel, a d i r e c t l i n k with God - and the tree, perhaps the Tree of Knowledge, both associated with the supernatural. (Both the Tree of Knowledge and the angel would be endowed with l i m i t e d a c c e s s i b i l i t y ; not everyone i s e n t i t l e d to see e i t h e r one.) Moreau, i t i s known, was f a m i l i a r with the works of Eliphas Levi, a "sorte de mage contemporain" who had written Fables et symboles avec leur e x p l i c a t i o n , a copy 23 of which the a r t i s t had i n h i s l i b r a r y . Levi writes about the a c t i v e vs. 124: passive, the male vs. female p r i n c i p l e which seems c l e a r l y represented by 24 Moreau's passive female angel and the act i v e Jacob. In Gauguin's work the tree provides a p h y s i c a l separation of the ac t i v e and passive not e x i s t i n g im Moreau's paintings. The tree serves to separate the male figures wrestling (as well as the p r i e s t ) from the s i l e n t and s t i l l female onlookers - the imagined from the r e a l , the s p i r i t u a l and supernatural from the p h y s i c a l . As mentioned i n Chapter One, both the cow, a manifesta-ti o n of a tangible, p h y s i c a l r e a l i t y , and the angel - a symbol f o r the intan-g i b l e and the s p i r i t u a l , are painted by Gauguin touching the tree . Later, 25 Gauguin i n w r i t i n g of Noa-Noa, re f e r r e d to the concept of matter and s p i r i t . Whether or not Gauguin was aware of these ideas as early as 1888 cannot be absolutely ascertained but such ideas were current by the middle of the 26 nineteenth century. Thus the tree, echoing Jacob's bent p o s i t i o n and emerging from the p r i e s t , symbolizes the Tree of Knowledge, separating the act i v e from the passive, the male from the female, the s p i r i t from the matter. D. The Importance of the Open-eyed Figure at the Centre of Vision apres l e sermon 27 In V i s i o n apres l e sermon, matter (the women arid cow) to the l e f t and s p i r i t (Jacob and the angel) to the r i g h t are u n i f i e d by the open-eyed f i g u r e who gazes at the wrestlers and i n doing so, l i n k s the l e f t with the r i g h t -matter with s p i r i t . Her open eye placed near the centre of the painting was c l e a r l y meant by Gauguin to serve some function. Because of her wide, open-eyed gaze, t h i s f i g u r e does not appear passive as do the other women, but rather i s a c t i v e l y involved and p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n what she i s witnessing. She stands for "a union of opposites" - matter and s p i r i t , the act i v e and the passive and therefore can be seen as androgynous.^ 125. The concept of the Androgyne was a popular one i n the nineteenth century. 29 ' , Balzac's Seraphitus-Seraphita was based upon t h i s theme. Josephin Peladan, Gauguin's contemporary, who founded the Ordre Kabbalistique de l a Rose + _':.•>:; 30 Croix, produced the novel Curieuse i n 1886, which dealt with the transforma-ti o n of a woman into an androgynous i d e a l . Influenced by Balzac's Seraphita, Peladan has one of his characters, Nebo, i n the novel, propose the "grand oeuvre passionnel, 1'androgyne complet" to the Princess Paula Riazan, while drawing her p o r t r a i t : ... considerez-moi comme un grand f r e r e . . . Vous avez en Seraphita, voyez en moi Seraphitus, vous etes Minna, nos pieds pose sur l a Falberg... 31 He goes on to explain the concept of the Androgyne: Au commencement, i l y avait t r o i s genres: l e masculin i s s u du s o l e i l , l e feminin de l a te r r e , et l'androgyne de l a lune, qui p a r t i c i p e des deux. 32 In V i s i o n apres l e sermon the feminine i s associated with the earth (the women to the l e f t ) and the masculine with the sun (the sun shines from the d i r e c t i o n of the male^wrestlers onto the faces of the women). Peladan continues: Ces androgynes etant des etres complets, devinrent redoubtables aux di e . . . . "Qu'on l e s coupe en deux" ordonna Zuex et chaque androgyne fut separe en un homme et une femme. Des l o r s , chacun regrettant sa moitie -courut apres e l l e , de l a 1'amour sexuel qui e s s a i de reconstituer momentanement l a nature p r i m i t i v e , par l'accouplement, mais s i tous les corps furent bien separes en deux sexes, des ames resterent androgynes; t e l s les genies dont l'oeuvre a l a grace et l a force: Platon, Saint-Jean, Leonard, Shakespeare et Balzac; t e l l e dans l e domaine de 1'action Judith et Jeanne d'Arc. Les genies et les heros sont androgynes... 33 Geniuses and heros, l i k e Joan of Arc, are, i n Peladan's mind, androgynous. i n Cahier pour A l i n e (1893), Gauguin refe r s to Balzac's Seraphita and 34 o f f e r s quotations from Peladan. Gauguin's O v i r i sculpture (1893-5) i l l u s ^ . . 35 trates the androgynous theme. Bodelsen asserts that "the a t t r a c t i o n of 126. 1'androgyne was not merely a l i t e r a r y a t t i t u d e , but something that came to 36 colour Gauguin's whole conception of p r i m i t i v e l i f e . " She c i t e s as an example the passage i n Noa Noa "where he describes the young T a h i t i a n who walks i n front of him i n the ravine: ... son souple corps d'animal avait des gracieuses formes, i l marchait devant mois sans sexe... 37 He comments: " l e c8te androgyne de sauvage - l e peu de differe n c e de sexe 38 39 chez les animaux". Gauguin regards the pr i m i t i v e as androgynous. It i s appropriate, then, with Gauguin achieving the pr i m i t i v e i n h i s painting of Vi s i o n apres l e sermon that he should have included the andro-gynous open-eyed f i g u r e i n t h i s work. Not only i s the open-eyed fig u r e iconographically s i g n i f i c a n t i n i t s representation of the androgynous but i t also portrays the:Jimage of an important woman i n Gauguin's l i f e . Shortly a f t e r the completion of V i s i o n apres l e sermon, Gauguin wrote to Madeleine Bernard, Emile Bernard's s i s t e r , who had been staying i n Pont-Aven with her brother and to whom Gauguin had 40 apparently grown quite attached, c a l l i n g her "Ghere soeur". He advised her that i f she wanted to be someone, to f i n d happiness s o l e l y i n her independence and her conscience, i t was now time for her to think of such things. He maintained that she should regard h e r s e l f as Androgyne, without sex; heart and soul, but as divine, and not a slave of matter, or the body. The v i r t u e s of a woman he said, were exactly the same as the vi r t u e s of a man and were the Ch r i s t i a n v i r t u e s - duty towards one's fellows based on kindness, and always s a c r i f i c e : S i au contraire, vous voulez etre quelqu 'un avoir pour unique bonheur c e l u i qui est l e r e s u l t a t de votre independence et de votre conscience, i l n'est que temps d'y penser et dans t r o i s ans d'agir. Premierement i l faut vous considerer comme Androgyne sans sexe; j e veux dire par l a que l'ame, l e coeur; tout ce qui est d i v i n enfin, ne doit pas etre escalve de l a matiere, c'est a 127. dir e du corps. Les vertus d'une femme sont semblables entierement a c e l l e s de l'homme et sont l e s vertus chretiennes -avoir un devoir v i s - a - v i s de ses semblables, base" sur l a bonte, et toujours l e s a c r i f i c e , n'ayez pour juge que l e conscience. 41 He warned her not to f l o u t divine laws, and to crush vanity above a l l the vanity of money: "Mais supprimez l a vanite qui est le l o t de l a mediocrite, 42 et dans les vanites c e l l e de 1'argent." This seems an:lindirect c r i t i c i s m 43 of Mette, a purse-proud P h i l i s t i n e , as Gauguin had c a l l e d her. He was i n e f f e c t warning Madeleine not to be l i k e Mette and saw i n her a promise of a l l the v i r t u e s lacking i n h i s wife. Gauguin t o l d Madeleine that i f she was ever i n need of help, she could turn to him (and other a r t i s t s ) as to a brother and ask for support. He f e l t that they, the a r t i s t s , were also i n need of her defence, of her a i d and that she could be persuasive. Hence each could render the other a good service, and bring about an exchange of d i f f e r e n t forces: ... Ne craignez pas. S i vous avez besoin d'aide de vous adresser a nous en c r i a n t : " f r e r e , soutenez-moi!" Nous autres a r t i s t e s nous avons besoin a u s s i de votre defense, de votre aide, et vous pouvez persuader. Ce s e r a i t done b i e n f a i t pour b i e n f a i t , un echange de deux forces d i f f e r e n t e s . 44 In Vision apres l e sermon the androgynous l i n k i n g f i g u r e of the open-eyed woman then symbolically portrays Madeleine Bernard. Gauguin i n r e a l l i f e perceived Madeleine as androgynous. In V i s i o n apres l e sermon the open-eyed figu r e and the p r i e s t are r e l a t e d by t h e i r turned heads, t h e i r p o s i t i o n s . At the same time she looks to the wrestlers; with her d i r e c t open gaze she appears, i n comparison with the other women with closed eyes and bowed heads, to be the only one who t r u l y understands the v i s i o n before her. Because of her proximity to both the p r i e s t and the wrestlers, she does indeed appear to be interested, sympathetic, involved, supportive, even i n s p i r i n g , thus r e c a l -l i n g what Gauguin was asking Madeleine to be f o r the a r t i s t s . Comparing the open-eyed woman's features to those of the f i g u r e on the lower l e f t corner of the painting - one perceives that there are d i s t i n c t 128. differences i n t h e i r physiognomy. I t appears that no matter how abstracted or s t y l i z e d t h e i r features are here - Gauguin used two d i f f e r e n t models for the rendering of these two women. There i s no i n d i c a t i o n i n his w r i t i n g as to any models employed, but i n his sketches and paintings one finds a sketch of the heads of two Breton women, the l e f t one bearing a strong likeness to the lower l e f t corner f i g u r e i n Vision apres l e sermon; although the head i n the sketch i s turned to face the other way, the same broad features, curved fore-45 head, nose, f u l l l i p s , rounded cheeks appear i n both. But what of the open-eyed figure? A comparison with the painting Gauguin executed of Madeleine (W#240) in 1888 shows a s t r i k i n g resemblance of features - the same oval, longish face, the t h i n f i n e features, long pointed nose, narrow jaw, long 46 slender neck, t h i n upper l i p , f u l l e r lower l i p . The open-eyed figure then not only p a r a l l e l s i n the painting what Gauguin saw as Madeleine's r o l e i n r e a l l i f e but i t also c l o s e l y resembles her physi c a l features. Although there i s apparently no evidence on which to base such an argu-ment, one i s l e f t wondering whether Gauguin has not i n contrast to Madeleine portrayed Mette as the scowling woman on the l e f t side of the painting turned away from the wrestlers. E. Conclusion A l l the major elements of Vi s i o n apres l e sermon then contribute to making t h i s work an autobiographic document for Gauguin, expressing h i s s i t u a t i o n i n l i f e at t h i s time, as well as his personal convictions about himself, h i s l i f e and his a r t . The theme of wrestling was an appropriate metaphor i n Gauguin's l i f e ; part of his a r t i s t i c struggle resulted because the a r t i s t - l i k e Jacob -12§: encountered d i f f i c u l t i e s while a s p i r i n g to become leader. Gauguin expressed himself as a s p i r i t u a l leader, i n s t r u c t i n g h i s " d i s c i p l e s " to create l i k e the "Divine Master" and advising Madeleine not to f l o u t divine laws, not to be a slave to matter but rather to support the a r t i s t - himself. Gauguin had h i s own group of followers i n Brittany - j u s t as Jacob in the b i b l i c a l story or the p r i e s t i n V i s i o n apres l e sermon, with h i s parish of women - notably the open-eyed fig u r e - who l i s t e n e d to h i s sermon and were i n s p i r e d to see a v i s i o n . In the l a t t e r h a l f of the nineteenth century the a r t i s t assumed the r o l e of seer and i l l u m i n a t o r . Art was considered the "Godlike rendered v i s i b l e , " and became a visionary experience - l i k e the v i s i o n i n V i s i o n apres l e sermon was for the p r i e s t , h i s parish and the viewer. Gauguin was not r e l i g i o u s i n the orthodox sense but rather i n a personal way; h i s r e l i g i o u s quest was a search for the p r i m i t i v e . In h i s estimation the Breton people with t h e i r pious and su p e r s t i t i o u s nature were p r i m i t i v e . Hence, i t i s appropriate that he should have dressed as a Breton fisherman and that he should have painted himself as a Breton p r i e s t i n V i s i o n apres l e sermon along with Breton peasants experiencing a v i s i o n . He maintained that, i n f i n d i n g the p r i m i t i v e and savage i n Brittany, he wanted to achieve the same i n his p a i n t i n g . This he managed to do not only by expressing, as he put i t , a r u s t i c and s u p e r s t i t i o u s s i m p l i c i t y i n h i s p o r t r a y a l of the peasants, but also by including the androgynous theme - the fi g u r e of Madeleine - an impor-tant element i n h i s conception of the p r i m i t i v e and h i s search for s e l f -r e a l i z a t i o n . In h i s s t y l e Gauguin d i d not follow any dogma, but'.reordered nature to f i t h i s own purposes, not according to any prescribed laws but according to h i s own temperament. Gauguin reacted against a n a t u r a l i s t i c or i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c 130. s t y l e by developing a more meditative approach to nature i n h i s a r t . Art became for him, as he puts i t , an abstraction with suggestive q u a l i t i e s , r e s u l t i n g from dreaming i n front of nature. The concept of the dream i n the nineteenth century was c l o s e l y associated with t h i s meditative approach. The dream as the a r t i s t ' s personal view of r e a l i t y - may be compared to Gauguin's idea of dreaming i n front of nature - and subsequently painting one's v i s i o n . This idea was represented by him i n V i s i o n apres l e sermon i n h i s depiction of the peasants dreaming and meditating i n front of nature and consequently experiencing a v i s i o n . For Gauguin, the a r t i s t i c process i s the same: l i k e the p r i e s t i n s p i r i n g the v i s i o n , Gauguin, the vi s i o n a r y a r t i s t with h i s meditative approach, painted h i s own v i s i o n , V i s i o n apres l e sermon. The concept of dream, of art becoming an expression of inner v i s i o n s , of ar t (including t h e a t r i c a l performances) assuming a r e l i g i o u s s i g n i f i c a n c e , of the p o e t - a r t i s t a s p i r i n g to become a visionary - a l l these ideas were prev a l -ent i n Gauguin's time. A l l are r e f l e c t e d i n V i s i o n apres l e sermon by Gauguin through the use of a n o n - n a t u r a l i s t i c s t y l e and personal imagery. Hence not only do Gauguin's a r t i s t i c b e l i e f s correspond with those of h i s contemporaries but these are l i t e r a l l y depicted i n V i s i o n apres l e sermon. V i s i o n apres l e sermon, i n i t s choice of subject and s t y l e , mirrored Gauguin's ideas i n 1888. Gauguin himself did believe and continued to believe that, as i n Aurier's words, he was "ce grand a r t i s t e genie, a l'ame de pri m i -t i f et, un peu, de sauvage," " 1 ' i n i t i a t e u r d'un art nouveau..." - "un de ces 47 sublimes voyeurs" - and he painted V i s i o n apres l e sermon with such views in mind. 131. SUMMARY ' Chapter One o u t l i n e d the general content of the thesis and s p e c i f i c content of following chapters. The intention to focus on the concept of v i s i o n as a means to understand Gauguin's V i s i o n apres l e sermon was d i s c l o s e d . E x i s t i n g l i t e r a t u r e on the painting was considered to discover that, although the majority of c r i t i c s had regarded the work as one of the a r t i s t ' s major achievements, the evolution and development of V i s i o n apres l e sermon had not been adequately investigated or convincingly dealt with. In contrast to Herban's b e l i e f , i t was argued that Gauguin was influenced by the Breton environ-ment and i t s r e l i g i o u s f e s t i v a l s i n general rather than by any one s p e c i f i c pardon. A d e s c r i p t i o n of the" painting followed. I t was suggested that Vis ion  apres l e sermon i s d e l i b e r a t e l y ordered i n i t s t i g h t l y structured elements and that c e r t a i n elements, due to t h e i r placement i n the composition, have iconographic s i g n i f i c a n c e . F i n a l l y , the existence of a r e p e r t o i r e of motifs providing continuity i n Gauguin's oeuvre up to and including V i s i o n apres l e  sermon was explored. Chapter Two traced Gauguin's development as an a r t i s t to reveal the emergence of a v i s i o n a r y s t y l e . I t was argued that V i s i o n apres l e sermon was a n a t u r a l progression i n h i s a r t i s t i c growth. Gauguin painted h i s p a r t i -cipants i n a meditative, dream-like state, which r e s u l t e d i n the occurrence of a v i s i o n . His s t y l e was appropriate to t h i s manner of depicting the occurrence of a v i s i o n , since the a r t i s t himself had developed a meditative, dream-like approach to nature, making his s t y l e personal, abstract and suggestive. Such q u a l i t i e s , i t was shown, were to Gauguin's mind inherent i n the a r t of Cezanne, the Japanese, the P r i m i t i v e s , Delacroix and Redon, to which Gauguin f e l t a strong a t t r a c t i o n . I t was demonstrated that, by wishing to i d e n t i f y J with these people and by working from memory, pain t i n g l i k e a c h i l d , a mystic 132. and a p r i m i t i v e , Gauguin was reacting against a n a t u r a l i s t i c or l i t e r a l repre-sentation i n order to express h i s own v i s i o n or h i s own inner r e a l i t y . Chapter Three discussed Gauguin's opinion of himself as a v i s i o n a r y , struggling to be accepted and recognized as an a r t i s t i c leader. I t was shown that i n comparison to other depictions of Jacob wrestling with the angel, Gauguin's Visio n apres le sermon emphasized the p h y s i c a l nature of wrestling - an appropriate metaphor for the a r t i s t , i n l i g h t of the d i f f i c u l t i e s he encountered as a consequence of h i s chosen career. The mystical and i n t e l -l e c t u a l concerns of the period i n which he was working were investigated to show that Gauguin's b e l i e f s concerning the a r t i s t as v i s i o n a r y and s p i r i t u a l leader - with the work of a r t having r e l i g i o u s s i g n i f i c a n c e - r e f l e c t e d con-temporary a t t i t u d e s . Gauguin's view of himself as a poet was discussed since the concept of the poet as a seer was prevalent i n t h i s time, as was. the concept of the dream as a personal v i s i o n . It was pointed out that Gauguin's depiction of women dreaming and meditating i n Visio n apres l e sermon and h i s view of art being an abstraction r e s u l t i n g from dreaming i n front of nature were part of the "reve" concept. Albert Aurier's a r t i c l e of 1891 was discussed at length to reveal a contemporary c r i t i c ' s view of Gauguin as seer, revealer, i l l u m i n a t o r and i n i t i a t o r of a new mystical tendency i n a r t , which corresponded with Gauguin's ideas of himself and h i s painting. Gauguin's exposure to and i n t e r e s t i n r e l i g i o n was conveyed to show that he was opposed to any dogmatic or orthodox approach, and that he chose to depict the Breton v i s i o n of Jacob wrestling with the angel for personal reasons. Gauguin, i n his search for the p r i m i t i v e both i n l i f e and i n a r t , interpreted the r e l i g i o u s nature of the Breton peasants as p r i m i t i v e - a q u a l i t y he achieved i n V i s i o n apres l e sermon. Chapter Four showed how Gauguin's ideas were expressed through h i s imagery 133. i n V i s i o n apres l e sermon. The meaning and function of various elements i n the work were examined to demonstrate how the painting was for the a r t i s t an appropriate ve h i c l e f or self-expression. The major elements of V i s i o n apres  l e sermon were shown to contribute to making':this work a culminating state-ment about both the a r t i s t ' s r o l e as a vi s i o n a r y leader and h i s personal convictions regarding h i s l i f e and a r t . P a r a l l e l s were drawn between Gauguin and the figures of both Jacob and the p r i e s t . The iconographic s i g n i f i c a n c e of the t h e a t r e - l i k e structure, the i n c l u s i o n of the tree as a separating device between matter and s p i r i t and the importance of the open-eyed, androgynous figure were discussed. It was concluded that Gauguin's views concerning the concept of v i s i o n as subject and a r t i s t i c mode corresponded with those of h i s contemporaries and, through h i s s t y l e and imagery, were c l e a r l y represented i n V i s i o n apres l e sermon. » 134. ABBREVIATIONS USED IN FOOTNOTES Baudelaire - Baudelaire, Charles. Curiosities esthetiques. L'Art Roman'tique. P a r i s : Editions Garnier Freres, 1962. Bodelsen, Gauguin's Ceramics - Boledsen, Merete. Gauguin's Ceramics. London: Faber and Faber, 1964. Gauguin, Avant et Apres - Gauguin, Paul. Avant et Apres. P a r i s : Les Editions G. Cres et Cie., 1923. Goldwater - Goldwater, Robert. Paul Gauguin. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1928. Gray - Gray, Christopher. Sculpture and Ceramics of Paul Gauguin. Baltimore: The John Hopkins Press, 1963. Jaworska - Jaworska, Wladyslawa. Gauguin and the Pont-Aven School. London: Thames and Hudson, 1972. J . Wasiutynski - Jirat-Wasiutynski, Vojtech. Gauguin i n the Context of  Symbolism. Princeton University, Ph.D., 1975. Loevgren - Loevgren, Sven. The Genesis of Modernism. Seurat, Gauguin,  Van Gogh and French Symbolism i n the 1880's. U.S.A.: Indiana University Press, 1971. Maisels - Maisels, Z i v a . Gauguin's Religious Themes. Hebrew Uni v e r s i t y , Jerusalem, I s r a e l , Ph.D., 1970. Malingue - Gauguin, Paul. Lettres de Gauguin a sa femme et a ses amis, ed. Maurice Malingue. P a r i s : Bernard Grasset, 1949. Oeuvres e c r i t e s de Gauguin et Van Gogh - Musee National Vincent van Gogh. Oeuvres e c r i t e s de Gauguin et Van Gogh. Amsterdam, 1975. Rewald, Post-Impressionism - Rewald, John. Post-Impressionism. From  Van Gogh to Gauguin. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1962. Rookmaaker - Rookmaaker, H.R. Synthetist Art Theories. -Genesis and Nature of the Ideas on Art of Gauguin and his C i r c l e . Amsterdam: Swets & Z e i t l i n g e r , 1959. R o s k i l l - R o s k i l l , Mark. Van Gogh, Gauguin and the Impressionist C i r c l e . Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic Society, Ltd., 1970. Van Gogh, Letters - Van Gogh, Vincent. The Complete Letters of Vincent  van Gogh. 3 v o l s . Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic Society, Ltd., 1959. Wildenstein (or "W" followed by a plate number) - Wildenstein, Georges and Raymond Cogniat. Paul Gauguin, Catalogue, Vol. 1. P a r i s : Edi tion d'^tudes et de.Documents, 1964. 135. FOOTNOTES FOR CHAPTER ONE 1. Wildenstein, Gauguin, p. 90. This i s the t i t l e given to the work by Wildenstein and i s generally accepted and most commonly used. c f . Wildenstein, pp. 90-1: W//245: "La Vi s i o n apres l e sermon ou ;La Lutte de Jacob avec L'Ange; t o i l e . H. 0, 73; L. 0, 92; Signe et date en bas a gauche: P. Gauguin 1888 ..." F u l l provenance f o r the work follows, as well as a l i s t of the l i t e r a t u r e on the p a i n t i n g . 2. Gauguin has depicted the B i b l i c a l story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel, Genesis, 32, verses 22-32 (The Holy B i b l e , Revised Standard Ver-sion containing the Old and New Testaments, New York: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1952): l 22. The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two maids, and h i s eleven c h i l d r e n , and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that' he had. 24. And Jacob was l e f t alone; and a man wrestled with him u n t i l the breaking of the day. 25. When the man saw that he did not p r e v a i l against Jacob, he touched the hollow of h i s thigh; and Jacob's thigh was put out of j o i n t as he wrestled with him. 26. Then he said, "Let me go, for the day i s breaking." But Jacob said, "I w i l l not l e t you go, unless you bless me." 27. And he said to him, "What i s your name?" And he said, "Jacob." 28. Then he said, "Your name s h a l l no more be c a l l e d Jacob, but I s r a e l , for you have s t r i v e n with God and with men, and have p r e v a i l e d . " 29. Then Jacob asked him, " T e l l me, I pray, your name." But he said, "Why i s i t that you ask my name?" And there he blessed him. 30. So Jacob c a l l e d the name of the place Penuel, saying, "For I have seen God face to face, and yet my l i f e i s preserved." 31. The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his thigh. 32. Therefore to th i s day the I s r a e l i t e s do not eat the sinew of the hip which i s upon the hollow of the thigh, because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh on the sinew of the h i p . The story, as i t appears i n an 1887 French e d i t i o n of the Bi b l e , follows: La Saint Bible ( P a r i s : Depot de l a Societe Bibllque Britannique et Etrangere, 1887), p. 34: 22. Et s'etant leve cette n u i t - l a , i l p r i t ses deux femmes et ses deux servantes et ses onze enfants, et i l passa l e gue de Jabbok. 23. I l les p r i t done, et leur f i t passer l e torr e n t . I I f i t aussi passer tout ce q u ' i l a v a i t . 24. Or, Jacob etant demeure seul, un homme l u t t a avec l u i , jusqu'a ce que l'aube du jour f u t levee. 25. Et quand cet homme-la v i t q u ' i l ne pouvait l e vaincre, i l toucha l'e n d r o i t de l'emboiture de sa hanche; a i n s i l'emboiture de l'os de l a hanche de Jacob fut demise pendant que l'homme l u t t a i t avec l u i . 26. Et cet homme l u i d i t : Laisse-moi, car l'aube du jour, est levee. Mais i l d i t : Je ne te l a i s s e r a i point, que tu ne m'aies beni. 136. 27. Et i l l u i d i t : Quel est ton nom? Et i l repondit: Jacob. 28. Alors i l d i t : ton nom ne sera plus Jacob, mais I s r a e l ; car tu as ete l e plus f o r t en l u t t a n t avec Dieu et avec les hommes. 29. Et Jacob 1'interrogea, disant: Je te p r i e , apprends-moi ton nom. Et i l r e p o n d i t : Pourquoi demandes-tu mon nom? Et i l benit l a . 30. Et Jacob nomma l e l i e u , P e n i e l ; car d i t - i l , j ' a i vu Dieu face a face, et mon ame a ete d e l i v r e e . 31. Et l e s o l e i l se leva, a u s s i t o t qu'il eut passe Peniel; et i l e t a i t boiteaux d'une hanche. 32. C'est pourquoi jusqu'a ce jour les enfants d'Israel ne mangent point du muscle r e t i r a n t , qui- est. a l'endroit de l'emboiture de l a hanche, parce que cet homme-la toucha l' e n d r o i t de l'emboiture de l a hanche de Jacob, a l ' e n d r o i t du muscle r e t i r a n t . " The b l e s s i n g of b i r t h r i g h t had been bestowed upon Jacob by h i s father Isaac, who had been deceived by Jacob and h i s mother Rebekah (Gen. XXVI, v. 5-29) into b e l i e v i n g he (Jacob) was Esau, the f i r s t - b o r n who r i g h t -f u l l y should have received them: 28. May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine. 29. Let people serve you and nations bow down to you. Be l o r d over your brothers, and may your mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed be every one who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you. (Gen. XXVI, v. 28-29) The Cyclopaedia of B i b l i c a l , Theological and L i t e r a t u r e (ed., The Rev. John McClintock, DD and James Strong, S.T.D.) (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1969, v o l . 4, p. 728) notes: "... The following sacred and important p r i v i l e g e s have been mentioned as connected with primo-geniture i n p a t r i a r c h a l times and as c o n s t i t u t i n g the object of Jacob's desire: (a) Superior rank i n the family (see Gen. x l i x , 3-4) ()b) A. double portion of the family's property... (see Deut. x x i , 17, and Gen. x l v i i , 22) (c) The p r i e s t l y o f f i c e i n the p a t r i a r c h a l church (see Numb, v i i , 17-19) (d) A condi t i o n a l promise or adumbration of the heavenly inheritance (Gen. xxv) (e) The promise of the Seed i n which a l l nations should be blessed, though not included i n the b i r t h r i g h t , may have been so regarded by the p a t riarchs, as i t was by t h e i r descendants (Rom. Ix, 8 and Shuckford, v i i i ) . " When Isaac discovers that i t was Jacob who took away Esau's b l e s s i n g he says to Esau: Behold, away from the fatness of the earth s h a l l your dwelling be and away from the dew of heaven on high. By your sword you s h a l l l i v e , and you s h a l l serve your brother; but when you break loose you s h a l l break h i s yoke from your neck. (Gen. x x v i i , v. 39-40). Isaac's words bring true God's prophesy to Rebekah who had been informed, p r i o r to the b i r t h of Jacob and Esau, that her o f f s p r i n g would be the founders of two nations, and that the elder should serve the younger (Gen. xxv, v.. 23): 137. Two nations are i n your womb and two peoples, born of you, s h a l l be divided; the one s h a l l be stronger than the other, the elder s h a l l serve the younger. Jacob's conception i s stated by some to have been supernatural (Cyclo-paedia, 0^. C i t . , p. 728). Esau, hating Jacob for taking away his b l e s -sing and b i r t h r i g h t (Gen. x x v i i , v. 36) vows to k i l l him (Gen. x x i i i , v. 41). Learning t h i s , Jacob i s forced to leave the land of promise and l i v e with h i s cousins i n Haran. Before departing, Jacob again receives his father's ble s s i n g , "which, under the a i d of divine Providence was to end i n placing the family i n possession of the land of Pal e s t i n e , and i n so doing, to make i t a multitude of people (Cyclopaedia..., Op. C i t . , p. 720) : God Almighty bless you and make you f r u i t f u l and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples . May he give the blessing of Abraham to you and to your descendants with you, that you may take possession of the land of your sojournings which God gave to Abraham (Gen. x x v i i i , v. 304). "A t h i r d phase of Jacob's h i s t o r y began with h i s re-entrance into the promised land and his settlement i n the heart of the country. But f i r s t an understanding with Esau was necessary, and then to take possession of the disputed heritage, for which a severe struggle was required..." (Samuel Macauley Jackson, D.D., LL.D. (ed), The New Schaff-Herzog  Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, New York: Funk and Wagnolls Company, 1910, p. 730). The angel who appears to wrestle with Jacob i s r e f e r r e d to as a "man" in the b i b l i c a l text and has been considered by many to have been God himself. Gerhard von Rad i n Genesis (translated by John H'. Marks) (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1952), p. 317, claims that " t h i s nocturnal a s s a i l a n t was l a t e r considered to be Yahweh himself, God of heaven and earth at work with Jacob." The Cyclopaedia notes that God "suddenly appeared i n the form of a man, and i n the guise of an enemy wrestling with him and contending f o r the mastery. Esau was s t i l l at some distance but here was an adversary already present with whom Jacob had to maintain a severe and peri l o u s c o n f l i c t ; and thus p l a i n l y an adversary i n appearance only human, but i n r e a l i t y the angel of,the Lord's presence. I t was as much as to say, "You have reason to be a f r a i d of the enmity of one mightier than Esau and, i f you can only p r e v a i l i n getting deliverance from t h i s , there i s no fear that matters w i l l go well with you otherwise, r i g h t with God, you may tr u s t him to set you ri g h t with your brother." The ground and reason of the matter lay i n Jacob's d e c e i t f u l and wicked conduct before leaving the land of Canaan, which had f e a r f u l l y compromised the character of God, and brought disturbance into Jacob's r e l a t i o n to the covenant. Leaving the land of Canaan covered with g u i l t , and l i a b l e to wrath, he must now re-enter i t amid sharp contending, such as might lead to great searchings of heart, deep s p i r i t u a l abasement, and the renunciation of a l l s i n f u l and crooked devices..." (Op. C i t . , p. 730). Jacob's r e c e i v a l of the ble s s i n g and the name of I s r a e l may be i n t e r -preted as an answer; from God to his prayer (Gen. x x x x i i , v. 11-12): Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, f o r I fear him, l e s t he come and slay us a l l , the mothers with the c h i l d r e n . 138. The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge explains Jacob's struggle: Jacob succeeded by the help of s p i r i t u a l powers (Gen. x x x i i , 24 sqq.) After such a v i c t o r y no human being could do him harm. The dreaded Esau received him kindly and r e t i r e d again to the desert land of the Edomites while Jacob established himself i n Shecham..." (Op. C i t . , pp. 74-5). Jacob r e a l i z e s a f t e r the struggle, "I have seen God face to face, and yet my l i f e i s preserved" (Gen. x x x i i , v. 30). Gerhard von Rad, (Op. C i t . , p. 318) writes "according to the common I s r a e l i t e conception, to see God meant death" . 5. The Cyclopaedia contains the following: "... In a t t e s t a t i o n of the f a c t , and for a sui t a b l e commemoration of i t , he had his name changed from Jacob to I s r a e l (combatant or wrestler with God) ... h i s preservation was a sign of r e c o n c i l i a t i o n and bl e s s i n g " (Op. C i t . , p. 731). Through-out Jacob's l i f e , God had shown him s p e c i a l favour and support, promised him protection and b l e s s i n g . He found himself again and again i n close personal communion with God. When he had set out from Beersheba on h i s way towards Harran he came to a cer t a i n place, stopping there f o r the night. He dreamed he saw a ladder, r e s t i n g on the ground with i t s top reaching to heaven, and angels of God were going up and down upon i t . The Lord, standing above i t , said to him: "I am the Lord, the Go.d- of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you l i e I w i l l give to you and to your descendants; and your descendants s h a l l be l i k e the dust of the earth, and you s h a l l spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and by you and your descendants s h a l l a l l the f a m i l i e s of the earth bless themselves. Behold I am with you and w i l l keep you wherever you go, and w i l l bring you back to this land; for I w i l l not leave you u n t i l I have done that of which I have spoken to you" (Gen. x x v i i i , v. 13-15). The repeated acts of God's favour to Jacob, r e f l e c t God's superior blessing for him. A f t e r the struggle, God t e l l s him to s e t t l e i n Bethel and says to him, "Your name i s Jacob; no longer s h a l l your name be c a l l e d Jacob, but I s r a e l s h a l l be your name." So his name was c a l l e d I s r a e l and God s a i d to him, "I am God Almighty: be f r u i t f u l and multiply; a nation and a company of nations s h a l l come from you, and kings s h a l l spring from you. The land which I gave l: to Abraham and Isaac I w i l l give to you, and I w i l l give the land to your descendants a f t e r you (Gen. xxxv. v. 10-12). 6. Unpublished l e t t e r written by Gauguin to Vincent from Pont-Aven, September, 1888, from the Van Gogh Rijksmuseum Library, Amsterdam. ' 7. Malingue, L e t t r e s , #61, p. 124, dated P a r i s , February, 1888. 8. Malingue, L e t t r e s , #41, p. 91, undated; claimed by Malingue to have been written i n Pont-Aven, at the end of June, 1886: " J ' a i f i n i par trouver l'argent de mon voyage en Bretagne..." Also, see #44, p. 96, undated; claimed by Malingue to have been written i n Pont-Aven i n November, 1886: 139. "Je p a r t i r a i pour Paris l e 13 de ce mois, quand tu aurai a m'ecrire e c r i s 257 rue Lecourbe." 9. Oeuvres e c r i t e s de Gauguin et Van Gogh, p. 22, #69: published excerpt from l e t t e r written by Gauguin to Vincent from Pont-Aven, September 1888 (same l e t t e r as c i t e d i n footnote #6') • 10. Oeuvres e c r i t e s de Gauguin et Van Gogh, p. 22, #69. Cf. Wildenstein (p. 91) who quotes Charles Chasse, Gauguin et son temps (Paris: La Bibliotheque des Arts, 1955), p. 52: "... c'est cette V i s i o n apres le sermon que Gauguin a l l a i t vainement o f f r i r ... au cure de Pont-Aven. Nous partimes pour Nizon, m'a d i t Serusier, en portant l e tableau que nous voulions donner au cure de cette paroisse, mais i l savait que Gauguin deja avait essuy£ en refus a Pont-Aven et l u i aussi repoussa 1'offre f a i t e a son E g l i s e . " P i e r i e Tuarze, the cure i n Pont-Aven for t h i r t e e n years, wrote i n a l e t t e r (addressed to the author of t h i s thesis) dated November 23, 1977: "... c'st sans aucun doute a l ' e g l i s e de Nizon que Gauguin, Bernard, etc., avaient voulu o f f r i r ce tableau." My thanks to M. B o d o l e c a t U.B.C. f o r h i s assistance i n t h i s matter. 11. Malingue, L e t t r e s , p. 140, #71. Cf. Wildenstein, p. 91: "... Envoye a P a r i s , chez Theo van Gogh qui l'expose probablement..." 12. See Loevgren, pp. 3-4, f o r background of the foundation of the Belgian Association of A r t i s t s , Les XX i n 1883-4: "The o f f i c i a l date of the foundation of the Belgian Association of (Artists, Les XX, i s 4 January 1884. The general program, however, was drawn up at a meeting i n a cafe during the autumn of 1883. A prominent c i t i z e n . w i t h marked l i t e r a r y and a r t i s t i c i n t e r e s t s , Octave Maus, a lawyer at the Court of Appeal i n Brussels, became secretary of the group. As i t s name implies, Les XX consisted of twenty a r t i s t s , most of whom enjoyed a good reputation i n o f f i c i a l Belgian a r t c i r c l e s . . . Les XX had no consistent aesthetic program... Les XX assured i t s members f u l l freedom to r e a l i z e t h e i r personal a r t i s t i c a s p i r a t i o n s . . . " Cf. Wildenstein, p. 90, c i t e s Rene Huyghe, Le Carnet de Paul Gauguin, E d i t a r , 1952, p. 73: "Dans Le Carnet ... '7 V i s i o n du..Sermon, 1000', 7 indique l e numero de l a l i s t e des oeuvres destinees a 1'exposition des XX a Bruxelles et 1000 l e p r i x que Gauguin demandait pour cette t o i l e . " Cf. also Rewald, Post-Impres- sionism, p. 310, i n h i s footnote' #1: "The catalogue l i s t s Gauguin's entries as follows: Paul Gauguin, 2 place Lamartine, Aries ... 1. Aux Mangos ... 2. Conversation .... 3. Paysage Breton; 4. Breton et  veau; 5. Berger et Bergere; 6. Lutteurs en herbe ... 7. V i s i o n du Sermon; 8. En pleine chaleur; 9. Miseres humaines ... 10. Au presbytere; 11. Les  mas ... 12: "Vous y passerez, l a b e l l e ! " . 13. Reward, Post Impressionism, p. 271. Maus reports: "Of a l l the exhibitors the one who has the d i s t i n c t i o n of e x c i t i n g the utmost h i l a r i t y i s M. Paul Gauguin ... because one of h i s landscapes shows blue trunks and a yellow sky, people conclude that M. Gauguin does not have the most elementary notions of colour, and a V i s i o n a f t e r the sermon, symbolized by the struggle of Jacob with the angel on a vermilion f i e l d , makes them believe that the a r t i s t intended to p u l l the v i s i t o r s ' legs i n a most presumptuous way. I myself humbly admit my sincere admiration for M. Gauguin, one of the most re f i n e d c o l o r i s t s I know and a painter who, 140. more than any other, avoids the customary t r i c k s . I am at t r a c t e d by the p r i m i t i v e character of h i s paintings as well as by the charm of h i s harmonies. There i s something of Cezanne i n him, and something of Guillaumin, but h i s most recent canvases show that he i s developing and that the a r t i s t i s already freeing himself from a l l obsessive influences . . . none of his paintings have been understood by the p u b l i c ... a l l are praised by Degas, which should amply compensate the a r t i s t for a l l other opinions, the i r o n i c echoes of which must have come to h i s ears." 14. Albert Aurier, "Le Symbolisme en peinture-Paul Gauguin," Mercure de  France, March 1891, pp. 155-165. With consideration to what.happens to the painting a f t e r the cure at Nizon r e j e c t s i t , c f . Gauguin's unpublished l e t t e r to Theo van Gogh, written from Pont-Aven, October 1888: "Le mere de Bernard va a Paris ces j o u r - c i et vous apportera quelques t o i l e s de moi. Bernard vous apportera l e reste l e mois prochain... La tableau d'Eglise vous sera remis et vous pourrez l e montrer. Malheureuse-ment i l est f a i t pour une E g l i s e . . . " (A portion of the above-quoted .letter appears i n Oeuvres e c r i t e s de Gauguin et Van Gogh, p. 25, #611). The painting was sold on February 23, 1891, for 900 francs to a Henry M e i l -heurat and l a t e r owned by a S i r Michael Sadler, and f i n a l l y acquired i n 1925 by the National Gallery of Scotland i n Edinburgh (Wildenstein, p. 91: "... Vente Gauguin 23 f e y r i e r 1891, No. 25 du p.v., no. 6 du catalogue (900 F) a Henry Meilheurat des Pruraux; S i r Michael Sadler; — Acquis en 1925 par l a National Gallery of Scotland, Edinbourg.") 15. Rewald, Post-Impressionism, p. 201. 16. Goldwater, p. 80. 17. Jaworska, p. 20. 18. R o s k i l l , p. 104. 19. Cf. Bodelsen, Gauguin's Ceramics, p. 182: "That i n the ac t u a l composi-tion of The Visio n a f t e r the Sermon Gauguin borrowed features from Bernard's Bretonnes dans un pre i s , however, obvious. Like Bernard he painted h i s Breton g i r l s i n a meadow against a monochrome abstract back-ground, the perspective being achieved by the r e l a t i v e dimensions of the fig u r e s ; ... the p i c t u r e acted as a catalyst on h i s a r t . " Cf. Jaworska, p. 20, who discusses the impact of Bernard's color theory on Gauguin. Cf. Y. T h i r i o n , "L'Influence de l'estampe japonaise dans l'oeuvre de Gauguin," Gazette des Beaux-Arts, January-February, 1956, pp. 98-100; Loevgren, pp. 127-31; he remarks that the two paintings are almost the same siz e ; V. Jirat-Wasiutynski, Gauguin i n the Context of Symbolism, pp. 148-9. R o s k i l l , on the other hand, negates Bernard's influence altogether ( R o s k i l l , pp. 104-6). 20. T h i r i o n , pp. 97-104; Loevgren, pp. 130-2; Rewald, Post-Impressionism, p. 198; Goldwater, p. 80. 21. Jaworska, p. 23; Bodelsen, Gauguin's Ceramics, p. 179, Goldwater, p. 80; Loevgren, p. 129; Maisels, p. 26; T h i r i o n , pp. 103-4. 141. 22. Mathew Herban I I I , "The Origin of Paul Gauguin's V i s i o n a f t e r the Sermon: Jacob Wrestling with the Angel (1888)", The Art B u l l e t i n , V o l . LIX, No. 3, September 1977, pp. 415-420. 23. I b i d . , p. 420. 24. Ibid ., p. 418. 25. V. Jirat-Wasiutynski, "Letters to the E d i t o r , " The Art B u l l e t i n , V o l . LX, No. 2, June 1978, p. 396. 26. Ibid ., p. 396. "Gauguin would have had to take a cab 17 kilometers to Quimperle, and then a t r a i n i n the d i r e c t i o n of Auray, where he would probably have had to change to another t r a i n i n the d i r e c t i o n of Pontivy, i n order to a l i g h t at St. Nicholas-des-Eaux approximately 100 kilometers l a t e r . Not only i s t h i s a long journey which, s u r p r i s i n g l y , has l e f t no record i n Gauguin's l e t t e r s , but the a r t i s t simply could not have afforded the journey and accommodation necessary at the pardon. Gauguin's l e t t e r s from June and July 1888 r e f e r repeatedly to h i s penniless condition and to a mounting b i l l at the Pension Gloanec i n Pont-Aven (Lettres de Gauguin a sa femme et a ses amis, ed., Maurice Malingue, new and rev. ed., Grasset, P a r i s , 1949, 131-33). Only a f t e r Theo van Gogh bought 300 francs worth of Gauguin's pottery, i n la t e September, was he able to leave Pont-Aven togjoin Vincent i n Aries ( I b i d . , p. 141)." 27. Herban, 0p_. C i t . , p. 420. Regarding the date of the Pardon of St. Nicodeme: c f . Findlay Muirhead, and Marcel Mon-Marche*, eds., The Blue  Guides Brittany. (London: Macmillan and Co. Ltd., 1928), p. x x i i f o r a l i s t of pardons and when they occur. Regarding the f i r s t Sunday i n August f a l l i n g on August f i f t h and i t being the tenth Sunday a f t e r T r i n i t y , c f . Massey Hamilton Shepherd J r . , The Oxford American Prayer  Book Commentary I(New York: Oxford University Press, 1950), p. l i i i : Tables f or f i n d i n g Holy Days, in 1888 Easter Sunday f e l l on A p r i l 1; p. 1: Tables and rules f o r the movable and immovable feasts, "Easter Day, on which the rest depend, i s always the F i r s t Sunday a f t e r ;the F u l l Moon, which happens upon or next a f t e r the Twenty-^first Day of March ... T r i n i t y Sunday i s Eight Weeks a f t e r Easter". 28. Herban, 0p_. P i t . , p. 420. 29. Professor William Adams of the Vancouver School of Theology conveyed t h i s to me i n conversation, c i t i n g how the 1662 and 1549 English Common Books of Prayer do not include Gen. 32: 22-31, as a reading for the tenth Sunday a f t e r T r i n i t y , but rather the passage i s included as a morning prayer on January 15 for thell549 Prayer Book. 30. Mathew Herban, £p_. C i t . , p. 420. Herban c a l l s t h i s an "equally ancient breviary" (p. 420), comparing i t to the Brevarium Romanum. In a c t u a l fa c t the breviary of the C e l t i c Church was introduced e a r l i e r , i n the 7th century, whereas by the 12th century the/Roman one. was^dominaht everywhere i n Western Europe with the exception of Spain and Milan. When Herban writes of the ancient Sarum usage (see h i s footnote.43, p. 420) o r i g i n a t i n g i n northern France and becoming widely used i n Great B r i t a i n and Ireland and remaining popular i n " B r i t t a n y i n the form 142. C e l t i c - C h r i s t i a n r i t e s into the ea r l y part of the 20th century, he c i t e s F.E. Warren (Liturgy and R i t u a l i n t h e . C e l t i c Church, Oxford, 1881, p. 25) who only mentions i n connection with Br i t t a n y that the C e l t i c Church""began by the coloni z a t i o n of Brittany from the B r i t i s h Church i n the 5th century" giving no i n d i c a t i o n of what follows (p. 24). He also c i t e s B a t i f f o l ( H i s t o i r e du b r e v i a i r e roman, P a r i s , 1893) but gives no pages. When Herban l i s t s the Roman breviary readings for August and September (footnote 43, p. 420) (from P. Salmon's The Breviary through  the Centuries, C o l l e g e v i l l e , Minn. 1951, II and vIII) he c l e a r l y wishes to demonstrate that Gen. 32: 22-31 i s lacking (for August the lessons are from the Book of Kings and for September, Job, Tobias, and Esther). Yet one may well ask, was i t even necessary for Gauguin to have heard a sermon himself based on Jacob wrestling with the Angel (or on any subject for that matter) in order to paint Vis i o n apres l e sermon as he did. 31. From a l e t t e r dated November 23, 1977, by P i e r i e Tuarze. 32. Herban, tip_. G i t . , p. 420. 33. Ibid ., p. 420. 34. Anatole Le Braz, Au Pays des Pardons (Pa r i s : Calmann-Levy, Editeurs, 1901), pp. I I , I I I : Le Braz hasvdescribed the serious nature of pardons and noted the health-giving properties of the fountains' waters and he goes on to say that only toward evening, when Vespers are over, do the f e s t i v i t i e s begin, r u s t i c and p r i m i t i v e i n nature: "Vers l e s o i r seule-ment, apres vepres, les divertissements s'organisent. P l a i s i r s agrestes et p r i m i t i f s . On s'attroupe pour jouer aux noix, dans l e gazon, au pied des ormes. Les gars se defient a l a l u t t e . . . " (p. I I I ) . Herban follows t h i s quote with a statement about the young men s t r i v i n g f or the honour of carrying the martyred Saint Nicodemus's gold-embroidered, crimson banner at the head of the pardon's f i n a l procession (p. 420) implying t h i s was what the wrestling matches were about, f o r he continues a discussion about wrestling i n the next paragraph. Yet the source he c i t e s , Macquoid, p. 398, does not say a sing l e word about wrestling, or for young men s t r i v i n g to carry the banner. Reference i s only made to the procession of men and women carrying l i g h t e d candles, crosses, and crimson and gold banners (no i n d i c a t i o n of any "gold-embroidered, crimson banner" of Saint Nicodemus). See K.S. Macquoid, "The F a i r at St. Nicodeme," Temple Bar, XLVI, March 1876, pp. 386-399. 35. Brittany Blue Guide, 0_p_. C i t . p. x x i . 36. Herbert R. Lottman, "What's Doing Along the'Brittany Coast," The New  York Times, Sunday, September 12, 1976, p. XX-9. 37. Alexandre Bouet/Olivier P e r r i n , "... un champion s'approche de l'arbre qui, suivant l'annonce de l a fe t e , porte des pri x , comme un pommier des pommes." B r e i z - I z e l ou Vie des Bretons de L'Armorique (Paris: Tchou, 1970), p. 287. 38. Cf. a l l drawings by O l i v i e r P e r r i n i n B r e i z - I z e l ; men have shoulder-length h a i r . 143. 39. Herban, C>p. C i t . , p. 419. Among others, Herban c i t e s Macquoid (p. 398) i n describing the red f i e l d s caused by the f i r e ' s r e f l e c t e d l i g h t but Macquoid only observes that the bonfire casts "a l u r i d glare on a l l around". 40. Le Braz i s giving a short account of a procession forming, with c e r t a i n i n d i v i d u a l s carrying the banners and young people standing along the route to be followed by the f i r e : "Dans le plaine, l e recteur, de sa proper main, met l e feu au bucher de lande. - Le feu! Le feu de j o i e ! Et tous de c r i e r en choeur: - lou! l o u! Et v o i c i maintenant l e tour du mdnetrier. OQ. C i t . , p. V. 41. Ibid ., pp. 250-2: "An Tan! An Tan! I l monte, l u i aussi, l e c r i sacre des immemoriales l i t u r g i e s s o l a i r e s , j a i l l i du plus profond de l'ame des ancetres aux levres de leurs l o i n t a i n s descendants. A i n s i , les Celtes p r i m i t i f s g l o r i f i a i e n t 1'Esprit de lumiere et de v i e , autour des feux de l a t r i b u , sur les pentes de l'Himalaya... Le spectable est d'une i n d i c i b l e beaute barbare. Souple et r e p t i l i e n n e , l a flamme enlace maintenant l e bucher de ses anneaux... Le rayonnement du dieu est devenu s i intense qu'on n'en peut plus supporter n i l a chaleur n i l'£clat." Cf. also F. Gostling, The Bretons at Home (London: Methuen and Co.., 1909), p. 23, for her description of the F e s t i v a l of F i r e : "... Down every dark street flowed a double f i l e of l i g h t s , each casting a bright r e f l e c t i o n on the face of the person who bore i t . . . " 42:. . Herban, Op . C i t . , pp ....418, 420. , 43:, Macquoid, 0p_. C i t . , pp. 386, 387, 391, 393, 397, 399. 44. Herban, Op. C i t . , p. 418. 45. I b i d . , pp. 417-8: Herban contends: "Paul Gauguin's use of the cow i n conjunction with the Jacob story i s unique ... the cow i s the symbolic a t t r i b u t e of four Breton saints venerated as protectors of horned beasts: Saint Cornely, Nicodeme, Herbot (or Herve) and Theogonnie: i t i s with t h i s connotation that the cow image provides the necessary l i n k between symbolism and Gauguin's act u a l experience." To further strengthen h i s argument, Herban describes the pilgrimage fountains by the Chapel of St. Nicodemus, and o f f e r s : "The a t t r i b u t e f i g u r e s , carved i n r e l i e f , are s t i l l extant and Saint Nicodemus's cow i s s t i l l here ( F i g . 7)." Yet Macquoid, 0j3. C'it., c a l l s i t an ox, not a cow, and G.W. Edwards' desc r i p t i o n i n Brittany and the Bretons (London: Herbert and Daniel, 1910), p. 73, maintains the f i g u r e i s an ox as w e l l : "The church of Saint Nicodeme i s pointed out, by a u t h o r i t i e s as the most b e a u t i f u l e x i s t i n g structure of the kind i n a l l Morbihan. I was most interested, however, i n the fountains dedicated to Saint Gaenaliel, who appears with an ox beside him attended by a binou or piper, and to St. Nicodemus and Abibo, who are accompanied by a human-headed ox, or b u l l , and a horseman... Because we know for ce r t a i n , from Gauguin's own de s c r i p t i o n , that a cow ex i s t s i n h i s painting Vision apres l e sermon ("La vache sous l'arbre est tout p e t i t e par rapport a l a v e r i t e , et se cabre." -unpublished l e t t e r to Vincent, September 1888). Herban's argument does not seem at a l l soundly based. 144. 46. The Pont-Aven cure, P i e r i e Tuarze, writes of the Pont-Aven church facade as being decorated with an angel with outstretched wings: " l ' e g l i s e de Pont-Aven, porte sur sa facade un ange ( l a tete) avec les a i l e s deployees ..." With regards to the red colour of the f i e l d i n Visi o n apres le  sermon Emile Bernard's painting of the same year, Buckwheat, shows a r i c h red background as w e l l ; the subject of harvesting indicates the f i e l d s i n . Brittany might have taken on such a shade during autumn. For i l l u s t r a -tions of women i n Breton costume, i n praying a t t i t u d e s , on t h e i r knees, see B r e i z - I z e l , JDp. C i t . , pp. 293, 298. 47. Oeuvres e c r i t e s de Gauguin et Van Gogh, p. 22, l e t t e r 69, to Vincent from Pont-Aven, September 1888. Herban, 0p_. C i t . , p. 420. 48. Anatole l e Braz, La Plume, March 1894, p. 81: "Un autre cycle comprend les sujets empruntes a l a B i b l e , l a Creation du Monde, par exemple, et l a Vie de Jacob." Maisels mentions the same play i n her t h e s i s , '. p . 11, Foot. 72 . 49. La V i s i o n de Jacob. Lorsque Jacob, errant sur l a route l o i n t a i n e , Fuyait vers l e pays ou Laban demeurait, I l s'arreta l e s o i r au bord d'une fontaine, Dont l a source, dans 1'ombre, aupres de l u i p l e u r a i t . Des b r u i t s vagues et sourds f a i s a i e n t l'ame inquiete; Les crimes, dans l a n u i t , craignaient d'etre expies. Et l a p i e r r e e t a i t f r o i d e ou reposait sa tete, Et l e t e r r e boueuse ou reposaient ses pieds. Or Jacob ce s o i r - l a s'endormit p l e i n de c r a i n t e . Mais ceux sur qui Dieu v e i l l e auront toujours l a paix, Puisqu'une v i s i o n majestueuse et sainte Apporta l a lumiere en son sommeil epais . Jacob dormait. Mais Dieu v e i l l a i t pour un mystere. Jacob v i t apparaitre une echelle de feu, Et cette echelle en bas descendait jusqu'a t e r r e , Et cette echelle en haut s ' e l e v a i t jusqu'a Dieu. Vos legends, Seigneur, sont pleines de symboles, Puisque vous permettez au coeur las du peche" De decouvrir, au fond de vos saintes paroles Le sens mysterieux dans vos l i v r e s cache. Car nous, avons peine sur des routes etranges, Ou nous ne comptiohs plus les deuils et l e s a f f r o n t s ; Et nous v o i c i ce s o i r couches parmi les fanges, Et les c a i l l o u x sont durs ou reposent nos f r o n t s . Tantot, dans l a c l a r t e sereine des journees, Nous a l l i o n s sans f a i b l i r , assures du s o l e i l . La n u i t nous trouble et rend nos ames consternees: . Lequel done, parmi nous, ne craint pas l e sommeil? 145. Plus d'un ce s o i r est seul et songe avec des larmes A l ' a b r i maternel qui trop tot l u i manqua, Et q u ' i l est pour toujours sans defense et sans armes S ' i l n'a plus pres de l u i sa mere Rebecca. C r o i t ' i l done, c e l u i - l a , qu'a l'aurore naissante Un doux a c c u e i l 1'attend au bout de son chemin, Et, pour l e consoler de l a p a t r i e absente, Que Rachel et L i a l u i souriront demain? Non! ce s i e c l e est mauvais! Et cetter nuit est p i r e Que l a nuit de Jacob au pays de Luza! Le mal de tous c6tes e l a r g i t son empire! L'homme a d e i f i e tout ce qui l'abusa! V o i c i l'heure lugubre et les mornes t£nebres! Les vents nous ont s o u f f l e l e doute et l e mepris! Des pr&cheurs du neant j'entends les voix funebres: I l s ne nous donnent r i e n , mais i l s nous ont tout p r i x ! Vous, mon Dieu, montrez nous l ' e c h e l l e de lumiere! Nous ne tenterons pas les sommets reserves; Mais l a nuit sur nos yeux ne sera plus e n t i e r e . Elevons nos regards, et nous serons sauves! Car vos Saints nous diront d'une voix prophetique Qu'ils sont montes s i haut aides par l e malheur, Et que, pour s'elever sur l ' e c h e l l e mystique. Le premier echelon se nomme: l a Douleur. J . Germain-Lacour, La Plume, A p r i l 1, 1891, p. 143. 50. Bodelsen, Gauguin's Ceramics, p. 182. 51. Rewald, Post-Impressionism, p. 201. 52. Wayne Anderson,,-Gauguin's Paradise Lost. (New York: Viking Press, 1971), p.60. 53. Maisels, p . 25 . 54. Loevgren, p. 136. 55. V. Jirat-Wasiutynski, Gauguin i n the Context of Symbolism, p. 353. 56. Aurier, "Le Symbolisme en peinture-Paul Gauguin," p. 158. 5 7 • Ibid ., pp. 158-159. 58. V. Jirat-Wasiutynski, "Letters to the E d i t o r , " The Art B u l l e t i n , V o l. LX, No. 2, June 1978, p. 395. 59. I t has already been observed by Wildenstein and Bodensen, Gauguin's  Ceramics, that Gauguin often repeated figures, t h e i r poses, trees and other p h y s i c a l elements again and again i n h i s works. 146. 60. See Appendix, Chart I: A l l works are numbered as i n Wildenstein, and may be found represented there. For women depicted i n countryside, see Chart I, #197, 199, 201, 202, 203, 249, 250, 251, 252, 254, 256. As for women not engaged i n strenuous p h y s i c a l a c t i v i t y exceptions may be found when Gauguin goes to Aries to j o i n Vincent: #302 Les Lavandieres  a Aries, #303 Les Lavandieres a Aries (II) and to some extent #304 Vendanges a Aries "o,u' Misferes Humaines, a l l painted a f t e r V i s i o n apres l e  sermon; but s t i l l 1888 note also #348 Ramasseuses de Varech ( I ) , #349 Ramasseuses de Varech ( I I ) , of Brittany 1889, these.ilast three examples s t i l l with an i n a c t i v e , passive woman s i t t i n g i n the foreground., #350 Les Faneuses, #351 La Moisson Blonde, #352 Moisson en Bretagne, painted -i n Brittany, 1889 as w e l l , show women haying. 61. See Chart I, #202, 249, 252, #201 La Danse des Quatre Bretonnes, 1886 does to some extent show communication between the four women: The woman on the f a r l e f t i s turned to face the other three with her mouth open as i f engaged i n conversation, yet even here the other three do not appear to be noticeably a t t e n t i v e , the middle f i g u r e i n back-view st a r i n g s t r a i g h t ahead and the other two to the r i g h t looking down. In #251 La Ronde des p e t i t e s "bretonnes there i s a d e f i n i t e i n t e r a c t i o n between the three g i r l s , smiling and dancing together, hands j o i n e d . But t h i s i s a r a r i t y i n Gauguin's oeuvre. 62. Chart 1: #197, 202, 203, 249, 252, 254. 63. As w i l l be seen in:; Chapter "Two ,Gauguin was not alone; i n perceiving the Bretons i n t h i s manner. Macquoid Op. C i t . , pp. 389, 397, described Breton women as sad-faced, i n "want of gaiety". Such was a common view. 64. Chart I: #201, 202. 65. Chart IV: #222, 223. 66. Chart IV: #105, 106, 107, 67. Chart VI: #215, 217, 218, 68. Chart VI: #217, 218, 220. 69. Chart VI: #279, 280. 70. Chart VII: #205, 286 , 336, 71. Chart VII: #273, 274 . The work during t h i s period i s i n Jeanne d'Arc (#329), 1889, where the angel has the same outstretched wings. 72. The e a r l i e s t example of t h i s device i s Chart VIII: #180. Often the diagonal l i n e divides water above from land below: #180, 216, 218, 227, 263, 273, 325. At other times the diagonal may form part of a table's edge: #288, 317. 147. 73. Chart IX: Note e s p e c i a l l y #201, 207, 252. 74. Note #197, Chart X. For landscape viewed from above, see Chart X: #282, 286. For s t i l l - l i f e viewed from above see Chart X: #288, 289, 290, 293, 294. For human subjects viewed from above, see Chart X: #286, 254. 75. For 1881 eg., see Chart XI: #58.: Chart XI: e s p e c i a l l y i n t e r e s t i n g i s #263, where the viewer looks from behind the boy i n front down at two figures below. 148 4 FOOTNOTES - FOR CHAPTER^ TWO 1. I t i s " v i s i o n " i n the sense of an "appearance, often of a r e l i g i o u s or prophetic character, which i s seen otherwise than by ordinary s i g h t , " as defined by V i o l e t MacDermbt i n The Cult of the Seer i n the Ancient  Middle East (London: Wellcome I n s t i t u t e of the History of Medicine, 1971), p. 1, that w i l l be discussed i n t h i s section. For examples of v i s i o n s occurring out of doors, see E l Greco's The f  V i s i o n of St. John the. Divine, ca. 1608, Encyclopaedia of World Art, Vol. 7, p i . 385. or Bastien Lepage (1848-1884) Angels Appearing to the  Shepherds from John G. van Dyke, Modern French Masters (New York: The Century Co., 1896). 2. Note for example; Rubens Assumption, i l l u s t r a t e d i n the Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Vol. 28,,,; . 1882; Gustave Dore's LVange de Tobie, ca. 1865 from Grand P a l a i s Le Mus.ee du  Luxembourg en 1874 (Paris: Ministere, des A f f a i r e s C u l t u r e l l e s Editions des Musees Nationaux, 1974), #73. 3. See examples where both v i s i o n and v i s i o n a r y are included: Parmigianino's The V i s i o n of St. Jerome, 1503-40, Encyclopaedia of World  Art, V o l . 11, p i . 45; Gustave Moreau's The Apparition, 1876, from Edward Lucie-Smith's Symbolist Art (London': Thames and Hudson, 1972), i l . , p. 67. See examples where j u s t the vi s i o n a r y i s represented: Gustave Courbet's La Voyant, 1865, from Jack Lindsay!, .Gustave Courbet, His L i f e and Art (Englan