About This Artwork

Paul Gauguin
French, 1848-1903

Why Are You Angry? (No Te Aha Oe Riri), 1896

Oil on canvas
37 1/2 x 51 3/8 in. (95.3 x 130.55 cm)
Inscribed lower right: P. Gauguin '96

Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1933.1119

Wildenstein Gauguin 1964 550

Returning to Tahiti in the fall of 1895, Paul Gauguin was soon beset by physical ailments and financial difficulties. Despite this, in 1896–97 he painted a group of impressive canvases in a larger format than his usual works. He based Why Are You Angry? on an earlier Tahitian composition but changed the mood of the painting: here the principal figures are larger and disengaged from one another, their postures and characters more difficult to interpret. The interrogative title encourages the viewer to seek some sort of narrative, but the imagery resists a definitive reading.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Brussels, Musée de Bruxelles, La Libre esthétique. Exposition des peintres impressionnistes, February 25–March 29, 1904, cat. 55.

New York, Durand-Ruel Gallery, Gauguin, February, 1923, no cat. [confirmed by Charles Durand-Ruel’s letter of February 27, 1979, copy in curatorial file; see also New York Times 1923].

Cambridge, Mass., Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Exhibition of French Painting of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, March 6–April 6, 1929, cat. 43 (ill.).

The Art Institute of Chicago, Catalogue of a Century of Progress. Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, June 1–November 1, 1933, cat. 359.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Catalogue of a Century of Progress. Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, June 1–November 1, 1934, cat. 304.

New York, Wildenstein and Co. Inc., Paul Gauguin 1848–1903: A Retrospective Loan Exhibition For the Benefit of Les Amis de Paul Gauguin and the Penn Normal Industrial and Agricultural School, March 20–April 18, 1936, cat. 33 (ill.).

Cambridge, Mass., Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Paul Gauguin 1848–1903, May 1–21, 1936, cat. 32 (ill.).

Baltimore Museum of Art, Paul Gauguin 1848–1903: A Retrospective Exhibition of His Paintings, May 24–June 5, 1936, cat. 21 (ill.).

The Toledo Museum of Art, Cézanne-Gauguin, November 1-December 13, 1936, cat. 3 (ill.).

Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cranbrook Association of Art, Exhibition, January 15-March 1, 1945, no cat.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Exhibition, April 1-May 15, 1950, no cat.

Omaha, Joslyn Memorial Art Museum, Twentieth Anniversary Exhibition: The Beginnings of Modern Paintings, France, 1800-1910, October 4-November 4, 1951, no cat. no.

London, The Tate Gallery, Gauguin: An Exhibition of Paintings, Engravings and Sculpture, September 30-October 26, 1955, cat. 54, traveled to Edinburgh, The Royal Scottish Academy.

New York, Wildenstein Gallery, Gauguin: Loan Exhibition For the Benefit of the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York City, Inc., April 5–May 5, 1956, cat. 43 (ill.).

The Art Institute of Chicago, Gauguin, Paintings, Drawings, Prints, Sculpture, February 12–March 29, 1959, cat. 60, traveled to New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, April 21–May 31, 1959.

New York, Museum of Modern Art, De Cézanne à Miró, 1968, no cat. no. (ill.), traveled to Buenos Aires, Museo Nacional; Santiago, Museo de Art Contemporaineo de la Universidad de Chile and Caracas, Museum de Bellas Artes.

Philadelphia, The University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, Gauguin and Exotic Art, October 10–November 30, 1969, cat. 7.

Stockholm, Etnografiska Museet, Nationalmuseum, Gauguin i Söderhavet, Febraury 1-April 1, 1970, cat. 45 (ill.).

Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego, Dimensions of Polynesia, October 7–November 25, 1973, cat. 12.2 (ill.).

Albi, Musée de Toulouse-Lautrec, Trésors impressionnistes du Musée de Chicago, June 27–August 31, 1980, cat. 32 (ill.).

Tokyo, Seibu Museum of Art, The Impressionist Tradition: Masterpieces from The Art Institute of Chicago, October 18-December 17, 1986, cat. 56 (ill.), traveled to Fukuoka Art Museum, January 5-February 2, 1986 and Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, March 4-April 13, 1986.

Washington, DC, National Gallery of Art, The Art of Paul Gauguin, May-July 1988, cat. 219 (ill.), traveled to The Art Institute of Chicago, September-December, 1988 and Paris, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Gauguin, January-April 1989.

Moscow, The Pushkin Museum, Gauguin in Russia, May-June, 1989, cat. 43 (ill.), traveled to Leningrad, The Hermitage, July-October 1989.

Essen, Museum Folkwang, Paul Gauguin:Das verlorene Paradies, June 17-October 18, 1998, cat. 39 (ill.), traveled to Nationalgalerie Berlin, October 31, 1998-January 10, 1999.

Göteborg Konstmuseum, Paul Gauguin: Ett fjärran paradis, November 4, 2000-January 28, 2001, cat 15 (ill.).

Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Gauguin: Tahiti, September 30, 2003-January 19, 2004, cat. 138 (ill.), traveled to Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, February 29, 2004-June 20, 2004.

Fort Worth, Tex., Kimbell Museum of Art, The Impressionists: Master Paintings from the Art Institute of Chicago, June 29–November 2, 2008, cat. 72 (ill.).

Publication History

“The World of Art,” The New York Times (March 11, 1923), Section IV, p. 12, col. 3.

Hardinge Scholle, “Modern French Ceramics,” The Arts, 3, 3 (March 1923), p. 118ff (ill.).

Robert Rey, Gauguin (Paris, 1923), pl. 26.

John W. Beatty, The Modern Art Movement (Pittsburgh, 1924), pp. 10–11, 9 (ill).

Gustave Kahn, “Paul Gauguin,” L’Art et les artistes 12, 6 (October 1925), p. 59 (ill.).

Madeleine Octave Maus, Trente années de lutte pour l’art, 1884–1914 (Brussels, 1926), p. 319.

R. M. Fishkin, “A Late Gauguin,” The Bulletin of The Art Institute of Chicago 21, 6 (September 1927), p. 75.

R. M. Fishkin, “Gauguin Given to Art Institute,” The Art News 25, 40 (September 17, 1927), p. 7.

Albert Franz Cochrane, “Fogg Museum Stages Magnificent Exhibition of French Art,” Boston Evening Transcript (March 9, 1929).

Arséne Alexandre, Paul Gauguin; Sa vie et le sens de son oeuvre (Paris, 1930), pp. 245, 273 (ill.).

The Art Institute of Chicago, A Guide to the Paintings in the Permanent Collection (Chicago, 1932), p. 72.

Daniel Catton Rich, “L’Exposition d’Art français à l’art Institute de Chicago,” Formes (1933), p. 383.

Charles Kunstler, Gauguin; peintre maudit (Paris, 1934), p. 101 (ill.).

John Rewald, Gauguin (Paris, 1938), pl. 115.

Maurice Malingue, Gauguin: Le Peintre et son oeuvre (Paris, 1948), fig. 209.

Herbert Lee van Dowski, Paul Gauguin, oder die Flucht vor der Zivilisation (Olten and Bern, 1948), no. 335.

Paul Gauguin, Lettres de Gauguin à Daniel de Monfreid, ed. Joly-Segalen (Paris, 1950), p. 101.

Lionello Venturi, Impressionists and Symbolists, trans. by Francis Steegmuller vol. 2 (New York, 1950), p. 171, fig. 173.

Denys Sutton, “Notes on Paul Gauguin apropos a recent exhibition,” Burlington Magazine 98, 636 (March 1956), p. 91.

“Una mostra di Gauguin alla Galleria Wildenstein di New York,” Emporium 124, 740 (August 1956), pp. 77, 80 (ill.).

Robert Goldwater, Paul Gauguin (New York, 1957), pp. 128, 129 (ill.).

Richard Field, “Gauguin’s Copies,” in Gauguin (Paris, 1961), p 142.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings in the art Institute of Chicago, A Catalogue of the Picture Collection (Chicago, 1961), p. 171.

Georges Wildenstein, Gauguin: Catalogue raisonné (Paris, 1964), no. 550 (ill.).

Bengt Danielsson, "Gauguin’s Tahitian Titles," Burlington Magazine 9, 760 (April 1967), p. 232.

G. M. Sugana, L’Opera completa di Gauguin (Milan, 1972), no. 369 (ill.).

Herbert Lee van Dowski, Die Wahrbeit über Gauguin (Darmstadt, 1973), no. 335.

Susan Wise, Paul Gauguin: His Life and His Paintings (Chicago, 1980), no. 16 (ill.).

Richard R. Brettell, Post-Impressionists (Chicago, 1987), pp. 68ff (ill.).

The Age of Impressionism at the Art Institute of Chicago (New Haven and London, 2008), cat. 72, p. 150 (ill.).

Ownership History

Mme. Ernest Chausson, Paris by 1904 [see Brussels 1904 and Wildenstein 1964]. Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York by 1923 [see New York 1923]; sold to Martin A. Ryerson (died 1932), Chicago on February 20, 1925 [see purchase receipt dated February 20, 1925, copy in curatorial file]; bequeathed to the Art Institute, 1933.




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