Paris 1848 - Atuona, French Polynesia 1903

Soyez amoureuses vous serez heureuses

Be In Love and You Will Be Happy


carved and painted linden wood (tamanuja)


Dimensions (HxWxD): 37 38 x 28 38 x 2 12 in.

Acc. No.: 57.582

Credit Line: Arthur Tracy Cabot Fund

Photo credit: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

© Artist:


  • 1889-1893, Paris, Gauguin consigned the sculpture for sale to the Galerie Goupil (Boussod et Valadon)
  • 1893, the sculpture was returned to him at the studio of Daniel de Monfreid [see 2003 Shackelford]
  • 1907, private collection
  • Paris, Emile Schuffenecker (1851-1934)
  • by 1928, Saint-Maur, his brother Amédée Schuffenecker (1854-1936)
  • 1928, Amédée Schuffenecker lent the sculpture to the Musée du Luxembourg
  • 1932, Amédée Schuffenecker offered it for purchase to the French government [see 2003 Pingeot]
  • 1936, Paris, by inheritance to his niece (Emile's daughter) Jeanne Schuffenecker
  • by 1949, Paris, private collection, possibly Margaret Thompson Biddle (1902-1956)
  • 1957, June 14, Paris, Galerie Charpentier, posthumous Biddle sale, lot A, to Huguette Berès (1914-1999) for the MFA for $33,887.71
  • 1957, September 12, entry in the MFA's collections


  • Museum's website, 20 March 2012
  • 1983, New York
    Christopher Gray, Sculpture and Ceramics of Paul Gauguin, New York, 1983, p. 42, 195, 207
  • 2003 Shackelford, Frèches-Thory
    George T.M. Shackelford, Claire Frèches-Thory, Gauguin-Tahiti, Boston, MFA Publications, 2003, p. 7, 10-11, 342
  • 2003 Pingeot
    Anne Pingeot, "The House of Pleasure: Tahiti and the Marquesas, 1895-1903", Gauguin-Tahiti, Boston, MFA Publications, 2003, p. 264-265
  • 2007 Dorra
    Henri Dorra, The Symbolism of Paul Gauguin-Erotica, Exotica, and the Great Dilemmas of Humanity, Berkeley/London, University of California Press, 2007, p. 89-95, 91, repr.


  • 1906 Paris
    Salon d'Automne, Paris, 1906, no. 173

    1907 Vienna
    Paul Gauguin, Vienna, Galerie Miethke, March-April, 1907, no. 6 (lent from a private collection)

    1917 Paris
    Exhibition, Paris, Galerie Nunès et Fiquet, Paris, March 7-31, 1917, no. 18

    1928 Paris
    Gauguin sculpteur et graveur, Paris, Musée du Luxembourg, January-February, 1928, no. 9

    1928 Venise
    Retrospective Gauguin, Venise, Biennale, 1928, no. 13

    1949 Paris
    Gauguin - Exposition du Centenaire, Paris, Orangerie des Tuileries, 1949, no. 80, p. 78 (lent from a private collection)

    1949 Paris
    Gauguin et ses amis, Paris, Galerie Kléber, 1949, no. 54

    1950 Lausanne
    Gauguin, Lausanne, Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, February 15-April 16, 1950, no. 50 (lent from a private collection)

    1959 Chicago/New York
    Gauguin - Paintings, Drawings, Prints, Sculpture, Art Institute of Chicago, February 15-March 29, 1959; New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, April 22-May 30, 1959, no. 120, p. 73

    1973 London
    Pioneers of Modern Sculpture, London, Hayward Gallery, July 20-September 23, 1973

    2003-2004 Paris/Boston
    Gauguin-Tahiti, Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, September 30, 2003-January 19, 2004; Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, February 29-June 27, 2004, no. 3, p. 10, repr.

    2009 Nagoya
    Gauguin, Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, April 18-June 21, no. 40

    2010-2011 London/Washington
    Gauguin: Maker of Myth, London, Tate Modern, September 30, 2010-January 16, 2011; Washington, National Gallery of Art, February 27-June 5, 2011, no. 93, p. 162, repr.

Related works

  • 1890, Soyez mystérieuse, (pendant)
    1901, La Guerre et La Paix: La Guerre, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, inv. acc. no. 63.2764.
    1901, La Guerre et La Paix: La Paix, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, inv. acc. no. 63.2765.


  • Museum's label text, 2011:
    Gauguin accorded great importance to his sculptures. His childhood memories of Peru, a trip to Martinique, and the African art he saw at the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris stimulated his interest in "primitive" civilizations and prompted him to convey the same spontaneity and vigor in his own work. This relief was carved during one of Gauguin's immensely productive visits to Pont-Aven, in Brittany. He wrote that he considered it "the best and strangest thing I have ever done in sculpture. Gauguin (as a monster) seizing the hand of a protesting woman and telling her: 'Be in love and you will be happy.'" Much about this sculpture foreshadows the art Gauguin created after he left France for the islands of the South Pacific.