Noa Noa: The Devil Speaks (Mahna No Varua Ino) (recto)

Noa Noa: The Devil Speaks (Mahna No Varua Ino) (recto)


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Paul Gauguin

(French, 1848-1903)


Support: Yellow Canari paper

Sheet: 20.5 x 32.1 cm (8 1/16 x 12 5/8 in.); Image: 20.3 x 31.9 cm (8 x 12 9/16 in.)

The Jane B. Tripp Charitable Lead Annuity Trust 2008.149.a

Catalogue raisonné: Guerin 95


When Gauguin returned to Paris from Tahiti in 1893, he conceived a book that would describe his life among the natives and place his South Seas paintings within context. Gauguin produced ten woodcuts to illustrate Noa Noa. Printed by hand, sometimes on colored paper, these prints have a rough-hewn, coarse quality that enhances the subject matter. An experimental printmaker, Gauguin varied inks, papers, colors, printing pressure, and even modes of printing so that each impression is unique. He would sometimes ink the woodblock unevenly, creating a partially incomprehensible image on many first-state impressions and increasing the scene’s mystery and ambiguity, as here. In 1921 Gauguin's son Pola inked and wiped the block so that the subject is clearly visible.

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