Avant et après




Avant et après

Date of Production



Height: 29.6 cm
Width: 21.7 cm

Accession Number


Mode of Acquisition

HM Government (Acceptance in Lieu) allocation, allocation, 2020


Accepted in lieu of Inheritance Tax by HM Government and allocated to the Samuel Courtauld Trust, 2020

Label Text

This important manuscript by Paul Gauguin was written on the island of Hiva Oa in the Marquesas and completed only two months before he died. It was recently given to The Courtauld and is presented here for the first time.

The manuscript’s title refers to his life before and after moving to Polynesia. The text reveals important insights into his life, while vivid anecdotes expose his often provocative opinions about art and literature. Gauguin challenges the hypocrisy and morality of his time and exposes the misdeeds of the colonial and church authorities in French Polynesia. He fails, however, to recognise his own racial stereotyping and misogyny.

The text is interspersed with Gauguin’s drawings and prints. Many revisit compositions that occupied his imagination throughout the decade he spent in Tahiti and the Marquesas. They reveal the profound influence of Polynesian culture on his art.


sent by the artist to André Fontainas, Paris (1865-1948), 1903; returned by Fontainas to Mette Gauguin, Copenhagen (1850-1920), 1909; sold by Pola Gauguin, Copenhagen (1883-1961), along with its publishing rights, to Kurt Wolff, Leipzig, (1887-1963), 1913; sold at Paul Graupe, Berlin, 10 December 1917, lot 95; purchased there by Erik Ernst Schwabach, Berlin (1891-1938); purchased by Erich Goeritz, Berlin (1889-1955), possibly c. 1925 and likely from a Berlin dealer; remained with Goeritz during his emigration from Germany to London, 1934-1939; placed on consignment with the Rosenbach Company, New York, 1951; subject of a lawsuit relating to ownership of the manuscript between Erich Goeritz’s heirs and John Fleming, successor to Rosenbach, 1956-1957; returned to the Goeritz heirs by the New York Supreme Court, 1957; remained in Goeritz family until accepted in lieu of inheritance tax by The Courtauld, 2020


Goddard, Linda, Savage tales: the writings of Paul Gauguin, New Haven and London 2019
pp. 24, 113-14, 124-25, 138-41, 161, 163

Widlok, Peter, Erik-Ernst Schwabach (1891-1938): Verleger, Autor und Mäzen des Expressionismus, Cologne, Weimar, Vienna 2017
pp. 9, 151, 164, 172-75

Wolff, Kurt, trans. by Deborah Lucas Schneider, Kurt Wolff: a portrait in essays and letters, Chicago 2013
pp. 37-42 ...More

Goddard, Linda, ''Following the moon': Gauguin's writing and the myth of the 'primitive'' in 'Gauguin: maker of myth', 2010
pp. 32-35

Vernier-Larochette, Béatrice, 'Avant et après de Paul Gauguin: un autoportrait - récit revendicatif d’une vie, récit paradisiaque d’une enfance' in 'Voix plurielles', May 2005 - pp. 2-13; 2, 1
pp. 2-13

Gauguin, Paul, Avant et après, Paris 1994 (reprint 2017)
French transcription of MS

Reck, Rima Drell, 'Gauguin écrivain' in 'The French Review', Mar. 1991 - pp. 632-42; 64, 4
pp. 632-42

Gauguin, Paul, Avant et après, Taravao, Tahiti: Éditions Avant et Après 1989
French transcription of MS

Gauguin, Paul, trans. by Van Wyck Brooks, The intimate journals of Paul Gauguin, 1973
English translation of MS

Paul Gauguin: monotypes, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 23 March - 13 May 1973, 1973
nos. 106-123 on pp. 127-33

Pickvance, Ronald, The drawings of Gauguin, London, New York, Sydney and Toronto 1970
pp. 14-15

Rewald, John, Gauguin drawings, New York and London 1958
p. 20

Knox, Sanka, 'Owner of Gauguin drawings in doubt: Court fight is on for Gauguin MS' in 'The New York Times', 24 Jul. 1956
p. 27

Italiaander, Rolf, 'Abenteuerliche Geschichte zweier Gauguin-Manuskripte. Mit I Faksimile', in Imprimature: Ein jahrbuch für bücherfreunde, Vol. XII, Munich, Verlag der Gesellschaft der Bibliophilen e. V. 1954-55
pp. 123-27

Avant et après: avec les vingt-sept dessins du manuscrit original / Paul Gauguin., Paris: Les Éditions G. Crès et Cie 1923
French transcription of MS

Schwabach, Erik-Ernst, Paul Gauguin. Vorher und Nachher, Munich: Kurt Wolff 1920
German translation of the MS

Gauguin, Paul, Avant et après, Leipzig: Kurt Wolff 1918 (reprinted Copenhagen 1951 accompanied by Norwegian translation)
facsimile ...Less

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