JACINTHES ET POMMES SUR UN JOURNAL is listed in Georges Wildenstein’s catalogue raisonne as painted by Gauguin in the year 1876. Wildenstein suggests that due to its subject − hyacinths, which are early spring flowers − the painting should be dated to the early spring of that year. Another detail in the picture, however, suggests otherwise. The newspaper on which the vase containing the blossoming flower bulbs of is placed, surrounded by several apples, carries a decipherable title. It can be identified as an issue of ‘Le Petit Parisien’, a popular daily newspaper, that started circulation in Paris on October 15th, 1876. Therefore, Gauguin must have painted the present still-life sometime after that date, probably in early spring of 1877. At this time, Gauguin was still working as a stockbroker in Paris, living a fairly comfortable bourgeois life with wife and children, and amassing a small but impressive art collection − works by Manet, Monet, Cézanne, Pissarro and Jongkind − that would have made him a very rich man today. Painting was merely a hobby for him at this point in his life.
Gauguin had been painting as an amateur for about three years, when he created the present picture. Camille Pissarro, whom he had met through the family of his wealthy, art-collecting guardian Gustave Arosa, had become a fatherly friend and teacher in 1874. Pissarro recognized Gauguin’s extraordinary talent. He spent holidays painting with Gauguin and introduced him to Cézanne, Manet, Degas and Renoir. He was among those who strongly encouraged him to consider a professional artistic career. In 1876, Gauguin’s Landscape at Viroflay was accepted by the Paris Salon, the official annual art exhibition in France. In 1880 Gauguin’s works were included in the fifth Impressionist exhibition, and again in 1881 and 1882. The French stock market crash of 1882 ended Gauguin’s career in the financial world and left him penniless. While his wife and children moved to her native Denmark, where they received financial support from her family, Gauguin eventually found himself free to pursue his art.