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Monfreid and Gauguin

The Hyacinthe Rigaud Art Museum in Perpignan celebrates an incredible friendship by presenting until November 6 an original exhibition of nearly 100 works by George Daniel de Monfreid as well as paintings and sculptures by Paul Gauguin.

Paul Gauguin. Vision après le Sermon. 1888. National Galleries of Scotland.
George Daniel de Monfreid (1856-1929). Hommage à Gauguin, 1925. Huile sur papier marouflé sur toile. Perpignan, Musée d’art Hyacinthe Rigaud. Photo Musée d’art Hyacinthe Rigaud / Pascale Marchesan.

Painter, engraver and ceramist, George Daniel de Monfreid, father of the writer Henri de Monfreid, started at the Julian Academy in 1874. He presented for the first time at the 1880 exhibition a painting which was refused (sunset in the Fontainebleau forest). He is passionate about navigation, and earns the nickname "Captain" in the circle of artists. It is this activity that brings him closer to Gauguin, whom he met at the Colorassi Academy.

If they do not sympathize from the outset - Monfreid moderately appreciated Gauguin's often haughty posture - they get closer quickly.

Gauguin appreciated the great generosity of Monfreid who helped him on many occasions, going so far as to buy two paintings from him to help finance his first trip to Tahiti. Over the years, Monfreid has become for Gauguin an indispensable confidant and, to a certain extent, his "public relations officer"!

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903). Autoportrait « à l’ami Daniel », 1896. Huile sur toile. Paris, musée d’Orsay. Photo © RMNGrand Palais (musée d’Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski.
Paul Gauguin (1848-1903). Autoportrait « à l’ami Daniel », 1896. Huile sur toile. Paris, musée d’Orsay. Photo © RMNGrand Palais (musée d’Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski.

He devotes himself body and soul to his friend who wrote to him in 1897: "If I were going to die suddenly, please keep as a souvenir all the canvases deposited with you. My family will always have too many".

Gauguin admired the works of Monfreid, whom he reproached for his too great discretion in a letter of 1902: "Why do you always efface yourself? It is high time that your art brings improvement in your pecuniary situation!".

Monfreid will be Gauguin's executor, continuing to devote himself to the memory of his friend after his death. In particular, he refuses offers to purchase made abroad for "the white horse" in order to sell it to the Louvre.



Monfreid's paintings are closer to Guillaumin or Pissarro than to Gauguin. Its colors are clear and quivering, it reveals a painting with rich forms and modeling that highlight landscapes and still lifes...

George Daniel de Monfreid (1856-1929). Autoportrait à la veste blanche, 1889. Huile sur toile. Perpignan, Musée d’art Hyacinthe Rigaud. Photo Musée d’art Hyacinthe Rigaud / Pascale Marchesan.
George Daniel de Monfreid (1856-1929). Autoportrait à la veste blanche, 1889. Huile sur toile. Perpignan, Musée d’art Hyacinthe Rigaud. Photo Musée d’art Hyacinthe Rigaud / Pascale Marchesan.

The exhibition presents in particular the Self-portrait with a White Jacket from the Volpini exhibition from 1889, the Portrait of Olympe Rollet, h/t from 1912 (former Victor Segalen collection), the 26 woodcuts reproducing the works of Gauguin, intended for the printing of the publication of the manuscript Noa Noa by Gauguin, published by Éditions Crès, in 1924, by George Daniel de Monfreid and the 96 daily diaries written by the artist throughout his career.

Musée d'Art Hyacinthe Rigaud

21, rue Mailly

66000 Perpignan

Tél: +33 4 68 66 19 83


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