The 2ft 4in x 3ft (73 x 92cm) oil on canvas, Te Bourao II, was painted in 1897 and is signed, dated and titled to the lower right 97 Te Bourao P Gauguin.
The painting is part of a cycle of nine works that the artist produced in Tahiti and sent back to Paris in 1898 for an exhibition at the Ambroise Vollard Gallery. The centrepiece was Gauguin’s famous Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?
Te Bourao II has been exhibited in many of the world’s most famous museums including the Musée d’Orsay, the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Fogg Art Museum and was on long-term loan to the Metropolitan Museum in New York from 2007-17.
However, the painting has never been on the auction market as, after it was shown at the Vollard gallery, it remained with the Vollard family until the current owner purchased it 30 years ago. It is the only work from the cycle that is still in private hands, the other eight all being in institutions.
The painting will be included in Artcurial’s Impressionist and Modern Art auction on December 3.