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Gauguin’s book-length manuscript Avant et Après (Before and After) has never been exhibited since it was written in 1903 in the artist’s hut in the Marquesas Islands and it has not even been privately shown to art historians since the 1920s. I was privileged to spend nearly two hours poring over the text with the Courtauld Gallery’s curator Ketty Gottardo. We focussed on the pages where Gauguin describes his tumultuous time with Van Gogh.

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