Between 1888 and 1890, Paul Sérusier made several trips to the small city Pont-Aven, in Brittany, to apprentice with Paul Gauguin. At that time, Gauguin had abandoned the faithful representation of nature in favor of an experimental practice whereby colors could be used expressively and become tantamount to immediate sensations. Sérusier’s The Three-Pond Cottage at Le Pouldu was one of a small number of landscapes that resulted from this tutelage. The overall effect of this ambitious composition was the total sublimation of the outward appearance of the painter’s surroundings into a landscape inhabited by spiritual presence, a mystical vision rendered onto the canvas with a bold harmonization of color and form. Dr. Sylvain Cordier will discuss the realization and importance of this masterpiece of Post-Impressionist painting that was recently acquired by VMFA.
The Annual Paul Mellon Lecture Series was established in memory of Paul Mellon—the museum’s longest-serving trustee and of its most generous benefactors. The Paul Mellon Lecture is presented annually by a distinguished scholar to foster the study and appreciation of the arts, and is supported by the Paul Mellon Endowment.
VMFA’s Dr. Sylvain Cordier