Coming and Going, Martinique

Paul Gauguin

Idas y venidas, Martinica

Gauguin, Paul

París, 1848 - Atuona, Islas Marquesas, 1903

Coming and Going, Martinique, 1887

© Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza

Signed & dated lower left: ''P. Gauguin 87''.
Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection on loan to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid.

Oil on canvas

72,5 x 92 cm


Artwork history

  • Deposit at Galerie Boussod et Valadon for sale, c. December, 1887.

  • Sold  Paul Gauguin, Hôtel Drouot, lot 15 , París, February 23, 1891. (n. 16 verbal process , 505 Fr)

  • Michel Manzi, París

  • Edgar Degas, París (change with Manzi 1891)

  • Sold from E. Degas Collection, Hôtel Drouot, lote 45, París, March 26-27,  1918 (listed as: “Paysage de la Martinique”; 8.000 Fr).

  • Jos Hessel, París

  • Gladys Deacon, París (Duchess of Marlborough, London)

  • Conde Jean Palffy, Lausana

  • Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Lugano, 1979

  • Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection


Exposición, París, Galerie Boussod et Valadon.


Gauguin, París, Galerie Boussod et Valadon - Hôtel Drouot.


Modern Masters from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Tokio, National Museum of Modern Art; Kumamoto, Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art, n. 11, p. 135, lám. p. 27


Modern Masters from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Londres, Royal Academy of Arts, n. 12, p. 32


Maestri dell'arte moderna nella Collezione Thyssen-Bornemisza, Florencia, Palazzo Pitti, n. 12, p. 147, lám. p. 30


Moderne Malerei aus der Sammlung Thyssen-Bornemisza, Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum; Düsseldorf, Städtische Kunsthalle, n. 10, p. 147, lám. p. 28

1985 - 1986

Maîtres Modernes de la Collection Thyssen-Bornemisza, París, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, n. 12, p. 155, lám. p. 38


Maestros modernos de la Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Salas Pablo Ruiz Picasso, Biblioteca Nacional, Ministerio de Cultura; Barcelona, Palau de la Virreina, n. 12, p. 157, lám. p. 34


Paul Gauguin, Tokio, National Museum of Modern Art; Nagoya, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, n. 20, p. 65


De Canaletto a Kandinsky. Obras maestras de la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, n. 80, p. 208


Del vedutismo a las primeras vanguardias. Obras maestras de la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, n. 44, p. 154.

1997 - 1998

The Spirit of the Place. Masterworks from the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Nueva York, The Frick Collection; Hartford (CT), Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, n. 14, p. 52


Paul Gauguin, Martigny, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, n. 29, pp. 80, 220 y cub.


Del impresionismo a la vanguardia en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, México, DF, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, . no figuró en el catálogo

2001 - 2002

Van Gogh and Gauguin. The Studio of the South, Chicago (IL), The Art Institute of Chicago; Ámsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, n. 61, p. 86

2004 - 2005

Gauguin y los orígenes del simbolismo, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - Sala de las Alhajas, n. 25, p. 135


Gauguin's Vision, Edimburgo, National Gallery of Scotland, lám. p. 34

2010 - 2011

Gauguin: Maker of Myth, Londres, Tate Modern; Washington, National Gallery of Art, n. 45, p. 115, lám.

2012 - 2013

Gauguin y el viaje a lo exótico, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, n. 3, p. 84, lám. p. 85


Allées et venues. Gauguin y cuatro siglos de caminos en el arte. Museu Carmen Thyssen Andorra, p. 70-71 y 101.

2018 - 2019

Gauguin and Laval in Martinique. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Cat. 57, p. 88 & cover.

2020 - 2021

German Expressionism from the Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza. Cat. 13, p. 82-83.

  • -Inventaire manuscrit Degas Collection. (Brame Archives). [ The work is listed as: ”93c-72c/Paysage de la Martinique Cases nègres dans les arbres- à gauche, à l´horizon moulin à vent/ èchangé avec Manzi après la 1re vente á l´hôtel”]

  • -Fénéon, F.: ”Calendrier de décembre. V. Vitrines des marchands de tableaux”. La Revue Indépendante. París, 15 enero 1888 , p. 170.

  • -Huret, J.: ”P. G. Devant ses tableaux”. En L’Écho de Paris. 23 feb. 1891, p. 2.

  • L’Art Moderne. 1891, p. 81.

  • -Cooper, D.: ”An important Gauguin discovery”. The Burlington Magazine. Abril 1981, vol. 123, n. 937 , pp. 195-197, lám. I.

  • -Sutton, Denys: ”Art for Pleasure”. Apollo. London, 1983, vol. 118, n. 257 , p. 9, lám. IX.

  • -Merlhès, V. (ed.): Correspondance de Paul Gauguin. París, 1984, p. 160, lám. VIII.

  • -Hoog, M.: Paul Gauguin. Life and Work. New York, 1987, p. 72, lám.

  • -De Canaletto a Kandinsky. Obras maestras de la colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. [Exhib. Cat. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza]. Llorens Serra, Tomàs (ed.). Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 1996 , n. 80, p. 208. [Sheet by Ronald Pickvanced]

  • -Cachin, F.: ”Degas and Gauguin”.  The Private Collection of Edgar Degas. [Exhib. Cat.]. Dumas, A. … [et. al.]. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997-98, pp. 229, fig. 311 p. 231.

  • -Thyssen-Bornemisza, C.: ”Mi obra preferida. Allées et Venues (Martinique)”. Descubrir el Arte. Madrid, feb. 1999, año 1, n. 1, pp. 32-33, lám.

  • -Wildenstein, Daniel: Gauguin. Premier itinéraire d’un sauvage. Catalogue de l’oeuvre peint (1873-1888). Crussard, Sylvie y Heudron, Martine. Milán, Skira – París, Wildenstein Institute, 2001 , vol. 2, n. 245, pp. 327-329, lám.

  • -Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Arnaldo, Javier (ed.). 2 vols. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2004, vol. 2, p. 84, lám. p. 85 [Sheet by Isabelle Cahn]

  • -Thomson, Belinda: Gauguin’s Vision. [Exhib. Cat.. Edimburgh, National Galleries of Scotland]. Edimburgh, Trustees of the National Galleries of Scoltland, 2005, pp. 34 (lám.) y 35.

  • -Solana, Guillermo: Paisajes en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Londres, Scala, 2006, pp. 77-78, lám. pp. 78-79, detalle pp. 76-77.

  • -Garb, Tamar: “Gauguin and the Opacity of the Other: The Case of Martinique”. London/Washington 2010-2011, pp. 24-31, cit. p. 30.

  • -Thomson, Belinda: “Landscape and Rural Narrative”. London/Washington 2010-2011, pp. 111-113, cit. p. 111.

  • -Thomson, Belinda (ed.): Gauguin: Maker of Myth. [Exhib. Cat. London, Tate Modern; Washington (DC), National Gallery of Art]. London, Tate, 2010.

  • -Borobia, Mar y Alarcó, Paloma (eds.): Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Obras escogidas. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2011, p. 196, lám. p. 197.

  • -Alarcó, P. y Borobia, M. (eds.): Guía de la colección. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2012, p. 271, lám.

  • -Alarcó, Paloma (ed.): Gauguin y el viaje a lo exótico [Exhib. Cat. 2012-2013] Madrid, Museo Thyssen, 2012, p. 82-83, lám. p. 85.

  • -Allées et venues. Gauguin y cuatro siglos de caminos en el arte. Museu Carmen Thyssen Andorra, 2018. p. 70-71 y 101. [Exhib. Cat.] [Sheet by Isabelle Cahn]

  • -Gauguin and Laval in Martinique. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. [Exhib. Cat. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam]. Thoth Publishers, Bussum, 2018. Cat. 57, p. 88 & cover.

  • – German Expressionism from the Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza [Exhib. Cat. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Solana, G.; Alarcó, P.], Madrid, 2020, Cat.  13, p. 82-83.

Expert report

Gauguin spent nearly four months, from June to October 1887, in Martinique, and was dazzled by the beauty of the island and the richness of the motifs lying before his eyes. Shortly after his arrival, he settled in the company of his friend the painter Charles Laval in a cabin built on a property two kilometres south of Saint-Pierre: “Below us, the sea and a sandy beach to go swimming: and on either side coconut and other fruit trees, wonderful for the landscape painter. What appeals to me most are the people, and every day there are continuous comings and goings of negresses dressed in colourful finery, with endless variations of graceful movements. For the time being I limit myself to making sketch after sketch, in order to become familiar with their character; later I will get them to pose. They chat continuously while they carry heavy loads on their heads; their movements are very particular and their hands play an essential part in harmony with the swinging of the hips”.

Seduced by the body language of the natives, Gauguin placed his easel by the side of the path used by the fruit carriers in order to paint their incessant “comings and goings”, the title he himself gave to this picture on the occasion of the auction of his works organised in Paris on 23 February 1891 to pay for his trip to Tahiti. The scene describes the to and fro of the women who came every morning to pick the ripe fruit, guavas, mangoes and coconuts, which they carried in baskets balanced on their heads to the market in Saint-Pierre. From the notes taken by a friend of Laval, Albert Dauprat, those comings and goings took place every day in the “fruit-growing” properties, where they also bred some goats, sheep, hens and pigs.

The precise site of Comings and Goings has not been identified but it is likely that it is a scene created from real elements, perhaps even seen within the property where Gauguin lived. The artist had made some sketches and more elaborate pastels of people and animals which he later added to the landscape probably painted in his studio. This method of re-composition enabled him to distance himself from the naturalism advocated by the Impressionists and to produce a space without depth, characteristic of Japanese prints. During this period of experiments, he used oblique brushstrokes, typical of Cézanne, which give both a structure to the shapes and a vibrant texture to the painted surface.

Men and women, goats, sheep and hens on the side of the road take up a limited space in the painting, which is essentially dedicated to the landscape. In it, the vegetation is depicted as large masses, similar to a tapestry of interwoven dark and intense colours, which are very decorative. Vermilion patches burst here and there among the different shades of green, while the laterite path crossing the meadow attracts the eye towards the fruit carriers, the main subject of the painting.

Gauguin brought back a dozen finished paintings from his stay in the West Indies, «four of which with much better figures than those of the Pont-Aven period». Comings and Goings, undisputedly one of his most beautiful paintings from Martinique, belonged from 1891 to Degas, who kept it for his whole life. The painting then passed into the collection of the Duchess of Malborough, who jealously kept it hidden from the eyes of experts and art lovers alike until 1979.

Isabelle Cahn