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Te Rerioa (The Dream)
1897
oil on canvas
The Samuel Courtauld Trust,
The Courtauld Gallery, London

When Gauguin journeyed to Tahiti for the second time, in 1895, he had a stopover in New Zealand. While awaiting his ship to be serviced, he spent time at the Auckland Museum, which held a collection of Maori art. Among the objects that he encountered there was an elaborately carved decorative bowl with two figures that formed the handles. Two years later Gauguin included a painted version of the wooden bowl in The Dream, but he converted it into a cradle for a sleeping baby. The dream of the title is uncertain. As Gauguin suggested, "Everything is dreamlike about this canvas; is it the child, is it the mother, is it the horseman on the path? Or is it the painter's dream!"

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