The painting, created in 1897, is titled "Te Bourao II” and features a stream as well as birds and flowers in blue and green hues. Gauguin painted the piece while living in Tahiti, the largest island in French Polynesia. The work was sold at Paris’ Artcurial auction house.
The painting’s name is derived from the word “tree” in Tahitian, a Polynesian language.
Gauguin is a controversial figure because he is believed to have had relationships with young Tahitian girls, who were often the subjects of his artworks.
— ARTCURIAL (@Artcurial) December 3, 2019
“This oil on canvas is a legacy piece that encapsulates the artist’s Tahitian themes and obsessions from a period when he was plagued by multiple torments,” Artcurial is quoted as saying by multiple sources.
— The Art Newspaper France (@TANdailyFrance) December 2, 2019
Gauguin is best known for his use of color and Synthetist style, which is associated with symbolic interpretation.
Gauguin’s work became popular through art dealer Ambroise Vollard’s efforts. Vollard organized exhibitions of Gauguin’s work throughout his lifetime and after the artist’s death in 1903.