The bronze was cast, presumably in an edition of four, after a plaster model that the artist executed in 1894-95, not long after he had returned from his first visit to Tahiti.
The plaster model was exhibited in the Paris Salon d’Automne of 1906. Nothing is known, however, about the identity or whereabouts of the foundry responsible for the casts.
This bronze relief was first exhibited in a Berlin gallery and a museum in Basel in 1928. It belonged to the famous art dealer Alfred Flechtheim, whose gallery was forced into liquidation by the Nazis.
Flechtheim was able to leave Germany and eventually settled in London where he died in 1937. His premises were taken over by Alex Vömel, who sold the bronze portrait to a German collector whose descendants consigned it for sale.
The auctioneer brokered an agreement between the consignor and the descendants of Alfred Flechtheim, so that there are no legal hurdles to the sale, which is expected to bring at least €30,000.