ADRIAAN HERMANN GOUWE (Dutch, 1875-1965)
    Bouquet of Calla Lilies, 1919
    Oil on canvas
    33 x 20 inches (83.8 x 50.8 cm)
    Signed and dated lower left: A. H. Gouwe 1919

    The Dutch painter Adriaan Hermann Gouwe was a latter-day Post-Impressionist who, in 1927 at the age of 52, followed in the footsteps of Paul Gauguin to Tahiti where he lived and flourished, painting expressionistic and abstract work for some 38 years.

    Born in Alkmaar, Gouwe received academic training under Georg Sturm, August Allebe, and Nicolaes van der Waay at the fine arts academy of Amsterdam where, in 1901, won the coveted Prix de Rome. For three years afterwards he traveled and studied in Italy, Spain and Morocco. His early works are rather Barbizon in feeling and subject prior to 1910 when his style underwent a fairly dramatic shift. His palette became more highly keyed and his style showed an awareness of the Post-Impressionists, notably Van Gogh and Gauguin, as well as other emerging modern styles in their more flattened treatment of form and more expressionistic effects of color and line.

    The two works in the present auction by Gouwe, both dated 1919, are compositions of highly stylized flowers depicted in a boldly linear manner. One a dying sunflower (an obvious nod to Van Gogh) and the other a sinuous abstract bouquet of calla lilies, these two paintings show the pronounced influence of Dutch art nouveau, known as Nieuwe Kunst, on the painter at that time. Works from this phase of Gouwe's career are extremely rare. The last owner of these two paintings, Kenneth Kendall, was a tremendous enthusiast of the art nouveau style, a factor which clearly drew him to these particular works.

    A trip to Polynesia in 1927 changed Gouwe's life and the course of his art. He spent most of his later career in Raiatea with extended periods on the islands of Tahiti, Tahaa, and Bora-Bora as well. In 1959 he left Tahiti for several months in order to have cataracts removed from his eyes. When he made a complete recovery he returned to Polynesia and painted their until the end of his life, his subjects being portraits, landscapes, figures and marines. As one writer has noted, "Within two years of his arrival in Polynesia, Gouwe totally liberated himself from his earlier influences. He was not looking for exoticism in his art but rather sought to translate the Polynesian light and color [onto his canvases]. His vegetation is typically Tahitian, tortured trees, sumptuous, somber, restless. His figures express tragedy, despair, violence. He knows the Polynesian soul in its truthfulness." A major retrospective of this rediscovered Modernist talent, Adriaan Hermann Gouwe 1875-1965, was held at Hotel Tahiti, Beach Comber Park Royal, Papeete, Tahiti, 1993.

    Condition Report*:

    Very good original condition. Half-inch scuff at lower left; frame abrasion; light surface soiling. Framed Dimensions 35.5 X 23 Inches

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    May, 2011
    17th Tuesday
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