Paul Gauguin’s Portrait of Meyer de Haan, painted in 1889, captures his friend and student lost in thought, contemplating religion and philosophy. The painting is part of a series of artworks commissioned by Gauguin and de Haan to decorate a dining room in Le Pouldu. In the painting, de Haan appears pensive, with one hand resting on his forehead, brought to life through Gauguin’s use of vivid reds and blues in the background.
Located at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, the painting is one of several portraits of de Haan created by Gauguin in the same period. The Dutch painter served as a muse for Gauguin, who described him as “very intelligent” and possessing “a delicate and sensitive soul.” Despite being commissioned to decorate a dining room, the paintings produced by Gauguin and de Haan were far from traditional, with their bold use of color and unconventional subject matter.
In 2005, Portrait of Meyer de Haan was auctioned at Christie’s in London, fetching a substantial sum. The artwork has cemented both Gauguin and de Haan’s place in the canon of 19th-century European art, encapsulating their unique artistic vision and pioneering use of color. Meyer de Haan passed away in Amsterdam in 1895, leaving behind a legacy as a talented painter and muse to one of the greatest artists of his time.