The monkey or ape in “Sirène et Dieu Marin” by Gauguin

Jonathan Cheek
Feb 18, 2014 2:16AM

This is the first time I have noticed a version of this Gauguin print with both figures in color - Here named/translated "The Mermaid and the Monkey" as a color woodcut on Japan paper at the National Gallery, more often called "Mermaid and Ape" as in the black and white image shown at the MFA website (but described there as “Rubbing in color from a relief carved by Gauguin; Carved panel dates from about 1895–1901, printed posthumously.” See: http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/sir-ne-et-dieu-marin-mermaid-and-ape-106428

A version with the mermaid in brown and the ape in black is described as a "woodcut printed in black, brown, tan and burnt orange on China paper" at the Smith College Museum of Art under the French title "Sirène et Dieu Marin" which suggests Mermaid and Sea God (Poseidon or his son Triton) as a title, or even Amphitrite and Poseidon, and raises questions about where did the ape/monkey title translations come from? I am curious about this question so I would love to hear more information about it.

The Smith College Museum print only seems to appear in some searches of their or the five college museums websites >  http://museums.fivecolleges.edu/detail.php?museum=&t=objects&type=exact&f=&s=gauguin&record=28

Jonathan Cheek
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