Sotheby's Impressionist & Modern Art Evening sale on May 3 in New York will feature Jeune tahitienne, an exquisite sculpture carved during Paul Gauguin's first trip to Tahiti between 1890 and 1893.
Estimated at $15m, it is the only fully-worked bust portrait that Gauguin is known to have created, and is sure to fascinate collectors and investors. It counts among the artist's finest sculptures in private hands.
Jeune tahitienne will be on view this April at Sotheby's Hong Kong and London galleries, marking the first time the work has been seen by the public in 50 years.
Months after returning to Paris in 1894, Gauguin presented this sculpture to Jeanne Fournier, the 10-year-old daughter of critic and collector Jean Dolent, having promised to bring her a gift from the tropics. In 1961, Fournier entrusted its sale to Father Celas Rzewuski, a member of the Dominican Order, who in turn consigned it to Sotheby's in London, where it was purchased by the present owner.
This historic auction will coincide with the exhibition Gauguin: Maker of Myth, on at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC until June.