When Will You Marry?, an 1892 oil painting by French Post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin, was recently sold for an estimated $300 million, the highest price ever paid for an artwork.
On loan to the Kunstmuseum in Basel, Switzerland for nearly five decades, the painting was sold privately by the family of Rudolf Staechelin to an unknown buyer, possibly Qatar Museums, the Qatari government’s main cultural body (and the buyer of the previous record-holder, Paul Cezanne’s “The Card Players”, which was purchased in 2011 for around $260 million).
The sale is all the more remarkable considering that Gauguin, like van Gogh, received little attention or acclaim for his artwork during his lifetime. His talent remained unrecognized until after his death, which came in 1903 at the age of 54 from a morphine overdose.
Gauguin’s legacy lives on not only through this valuable piece, but through his influence on great 20th century artists like Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and Henri Matisse.