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Paul Gauguin | Bonjour Monsieur Gauguin, 1889

Paul Gauguin | Bonjour Monsieur Gauguin, 1889 | National Gallery in Prague

Gustave Courbet, the perhaps most famous exponent of Realism in French painting, created a number of sensational paintings.
Standing out among them is the work “The Meeting or Bonjour Monsieur Courbet” of 1854, in which Courbet shows himself out wandering, whereby he encounters his patron Alfred Bruyas and his servant. Bruyas supported Courbet and purchased the large-format painting.
When it was exhibited at the Paris World Exhibition of 1855, the audacity of the painter, who presented himself with abundant self-confidence and in a much more favourable light than his patron, was not lost on spectators.

Paul Gauguin | Self-portrait at Lezaven, 1888

Twenty years later, in 1888, Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh travelled from Provence to Montpellier and visited Alfred Bruyas’s famous collection at the Musée Fabre.
The Meeting or Bonjour Monsieur Courbet” made a profound impression on Gauguin.
He formulated his first response, modest decorative work at an inn, and then developed an oil painting from it in 1889, titled “Bonjour Monsieur Gauguin” after Courbet’s work.
At the time Gauguin was experiencing financial difficulties, as the public was slow to appreciate his intense colours. Instead of emphasizing his autonomy from society as Courbet had, he showed himself as a misfit.

Gustave Courbet | Bonjour Monsieur Courbet, 1854 | Musée Fabre

His cap pulled down into his face, he approaches not a millionaire but a Breton farmer’s wife who appears to be running away from him.
Hoping to find better working conditions away from European society, which did not particularly value his work, Gauguin travelled to the Polynesian islands in 1891.
Bonjour Monsieur Gauguin” later made its way into the National Gallery of Prague.

Paul Gauguin | Still Life with Profile of Laval, 1886 | Indianapolis Museum of Art
Paul Gauguin | Bretonne De Pont Aven De Profil, 1886
Paul Gauguin | Mette Gauguin
Paul Gauguin | Portrait of woman against the Cézanne's still life with apples, 1890
Paul Gauguin | Seated Breton girl, 1889