Gauguin's [Pounds Sterling]10 Million Floral Tribute; Sunflowers for Van Gogh in Major Art Sale

Article excerpt

Byline: Louise Jury Chief Arts Correspondent

A STILL LIFE of sunflowers painted by Paul Gauguin in tribute to Vincent van Gogh is expected to fetch up to [pounds sterling]10 million at auction next month.

The work will be sold by Christie's in London weeks after Tate Modern closes its blockbuster show on the French master.

It is the highlight of next month's Impressionist and modern art sale, which could raise up to [pounds sterling]109 million as the market continues to revive.

Nature Morte a L'Esperance was painted in Tahiti in 1901, 11 years after Van Gogh committed suicide. It is one of four sunflower paintings Gauguin produced that year in tribute to his friend.

The two met in Paris in 1887 and the following year arranged to live and paint together in Arles. But after nine weeks the intense collaboration gave way to quarrels, which came to a climax when Van Gogh, in a fit of madness, cut off his ear and Gauguin left for Paris. The sunflower work was shown at his first landmark retrospective, in 1906, but has not been seen in public since 1989.

Auctioneers will be hoping the sale, in King Street, St James's on February 9 will continue the bounceback that saw Christie's break records last year, with provisional sales figures of [pounds sterling]3. …

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