© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

A close acolyte of Gauguin, Schuffenecker gradually evolved from academic artist to impressionist, before finally tending toward a mystical brand of symbolism, of which this landscape is a prime example. In 1889, Schuffenecker, Gauguin, Émile Bernard, and others contributed to the Café Volpini exhibition; and it was on this occasion that Schuffenecker and Gauguin coined the term synthétisme to refer to their collective aesthetic approach. They believed art should be a synthesis of the artist’s feelings about his subject, the outward appearance of natural forms, and purely aesthetic considerations of line, color, and shape.

Landscape with an Orange Tree was most likely completed during one of Schuffenecker’s excursions into the French countryside, where he is known to have drawn outdoors with pastel. He created vaporous forms and a veiled atmosphere by exploiting pastel’s uniquely velvety softness—a property that Huysmans described as creating an evanescent and luminous effect. Schuffenecker’s free use of complementary and often flat color masses may follow from Gauguin’s advice not to paint too closely from nature.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Claude Emile Schuffenecker, French (Fresne-Saint-Mamès, Franche-Comté, France 1851 - 1934 Paris, Île-de-France, France)
Landscape with an Orange Tree
Work Type
Physical Descriptions
Pastel on cardboard
50.2 x 66 cm (19 3/4 x 26 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: Verso, secondary board top left corner in black ink: No. 9
  • stamp: Recto, bottom right corner, red-brown stamp: Atelier stamp: The letters E and S with a lotus-like flower to the right of the letters.
Private collection, France (since the early 20th century) sold; to [Emmanuel Marty de Cambiaire, Paris] sold; to [Eric Gillis Fine Art, Brussels] sold; to Harvard Art Museums, 2015
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Richard Norton Memorial Fund and Marian H. Phinney Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

Catalogue16: 1824-1907 / Paintings & Drawings, auct. cat., Eric Gillis Fine Art (Brussels, 2015), no. 14, repr. p. 33

Marty de Cambiaire: Dessins & Esquisses, auct. cat., Marty de Cambiare (Paris, 2015), p. 98, pp. 139-140, repr. pp. 100-101, repr. p. 140.

Carey Dunne, Flowers of Evil and the Macabre Literary Imagination of Symbolism, Hyperalleric (July 4, 2016), [e-journal], http://hyperallergic.com/305877/flowers-of-evil-and-the-macabre-literary-imagination-of-symbolism/, accessed January 9, 2017

Franklin Einspruch, Fuse Visual Art Review: A Pair of Drawing Shows at the Harvard Art Museums, The Arts Fuse ([e-journal], June 9, 2016), repr., http://artsfuse.org/146319/fuse-visual-arts-review-a-pair-of-drawing-shows-at-the-harvard-art-museums/, accessed June 9, 2016

Exhibition History

Flowers of Evil: Symbolist Drawings, 1870–1910, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2016 - 08/14/2016

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu