Nevermore (Gauguin)

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Paul Gauguin 091.jpg
ArtistPaul Gauguin
TypeOil paint on canvas
Dimensions50 by 116 centimetres (20 in × 46 in)
LocationCourtauld Institute of Art, London, UK

Nevermore is an 1897 painting in oil on canvas by the French Post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin which is in the collection of the Courtauld Institute of Art at Somerset House in the Strand, London. It was executed during the artist's second stay on the island of Tahiti in the South Pacific.

The enigmatic work depicts a naked Pahura, Gauguin's teenage vahine or wife, lying on a bed in their hut, her voluptuous figure echoed by the curves of the headboard. In the background behind the bed can be seen a raven and two mysterious human figures. [1]

The title "Nevermore", painted in relatively large capitals in the top left-hand corner, and the presence of the raven is an obvious reference to Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven", which was well known to Gauguin and recited at his farewell party in 1891. In the poem a mourning student is visited in his room by a raven which croaks the one word "nevermore" in response to his every question. At the time the painting was executed Pahura was grieving the loss of her first child (by Gauguin) and Gauguin the loss of his favourite European-born daughter Aline. The artist himself claimed the bird represented a "bird of the devil who watches". [2]

The painting was later purchased in 1898 by the British composer Frederick Delius from Gauguin's friend George-Daniel de Monfreid for 500 francs.


  1. ^ "Nevermore, 1897". Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  2. ^ "Nevermore – Paul Gauguin". Courtauld Institute. Retrieved 7 January 2020.