On Sérusier’s death in 1927, The Talisman joined the collection of Maurice Denis, who contributed to its status as a founding work by recounting its creation to the journal Occident in 1903: How do you see this tree? said Gauguin at the Bois d’Amour: Is it really green? Use green, then, the most beautiful green on your palette. And that shadow, rather blue? Don't be afraid to paint it as blue as possible.” Thus was introduced to us for the first time, in a paradoxical and unforgettable form, the fertile concept of a flat surface covered with colours assembled in a certain order”.
Sérusier’s study was thus placed at the centre of a sort of legend that governs its interpretation: a ‘painting lesson’ given by Paul Gauguin that inspired in the young painter a manifesto of an art that replaced a mimetic approach with the search for a ‘coloured equivalent’. Posterity was to see - in retrospect – in this painting the manifesto of a pure painting, autonomous and abstract.
CuratorsEstelle Guille des Buttes-Fresneau, director, Musée de Pont-Aven
Claire Bernardi, curator, Musée d'Orsay
Exhibition also presented in the Musée d'Orsay from 29 January to 28 April 2019