Arts & Culture

Ia Orana Maria (Hail Mary)

Paul Gauguin (French, Paris 1848–1903 Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands)1891

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Before embarking on a series of pictures inspired by Polynesian religious beliefs, Gauguin devoted this, his first major Tahitian canvas, to a Christian theme, describing it in a letter of March 1892: "An angel with yellow wings reveals Mary and Jesus, both Tahitians, to two Tahitian women, nudes dressed in pareus, a sort of cotton cloth printed with flowers that can be draped from the waist. Very somber, mountainous background and flowering trees . . . a dark violet path and an emerald green foreground, with bananas on the left. I'm rather happy with it." Gauguin based much of the composition on a photograph he owned of a bas-relief in the Javanese temple of Borobudur.

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Details

  • Title: Ia Orana Maria (Hail Mary)
  • Date Created: 1891
  • Physical Dimensions: w876.3 x h1136.7 mm
  • Type: Paintings
  • External Link: MMA
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • provenance extent: Complete
  • provenance: Michel Manzi, Paris (1893–1915; bought for Fr 2,000 from the Durand-Ruel exhibition, November 1893–d. 1915; his estate, 1915–19; his estate sale, Galerie Manzi et Joyant, Paris, March 13–14, 1919, no. 56, ill., for Fr 58,000 to Knoedler); [Knoedler, New York, 1919]; Adolph Lewisohn, New York (1919–d. 1938); his son, Sam A. Lewisohn, New York (1938–d. 1951)
  • medium extent: Complete
  • inscription extent: Complete
  • inscription: Signed, dated, and inscribed: (lower right) P Gauguin 91; (lower left) IA ORANA MARIA (Hail Mary)
  • description extent: Complete
  • credit line extent: Complete
  • credit line: Bequest of Sam A. Lewisohn, 1951
  • Artist: Paul Gauguin (French, Paris 1848–1903 Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands)

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