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Last Updated:  Friday, 21 March, 2003, 17:19 GMT
'Gauguin' sale aids Iraq hospital
Graphic by Paul Rene Gauguin
Paul Rene Gauguin never used oils
A Norwegian art collector is selling 70 works by Paul Rene Gauguin to raise money for a hospital near Baghdad.

Paul Rene Gauguin is the Norwegian-born grandson of the post-impressionist painter, Paul Gauguin.

The works are being sold by Vera Olsnes, a friend of the Gauguin family, who spent 35 years accumulating the collection of collages, graphics and sculptures.

The sale, which begins on Saturday, is her response to the US-led attack on Iraq.

Artwork for auction
Paul Rene Gaugin died in 1976
"Of course we are all unhappy about the war, but I am not interested in politics. I want to help people," she told BBC News Online.

Ms Olsnes, aged 62, heard of the hospital of Saint Raphael near Baghdad from the monks of a Roman Catholic monastery near Oslo.

The Gauguins are some of her most treasured possessions, and she is selling every one that she has.

"It is difficult to part with them. I have lived with them for 35 years and seen them every day," she said.

However, she added that the artist would have liked the money from the sale to be spent on something special.

Graphic by Paul Rene Gauguin
The works are priced $1,340 each
Paul Rene Gauguin was born in Copenhagen in 1911.

He spent much of his life abroad, living in France, Ibiza, Denmark and Spain.

He died in 1976.

The Norwegian national gallery owns about 250 of his works.

He never painted oils, the medium used by his more celebrated grandfather.

The sale is taking place in Ms Olsnes own gallery, Gallery Vera, in Droebak, near Oslo.

The works are priced at about 10,000 kroner ($1,340) each.

Ms Olsnes wants to send the proceeds to the hospital within two weeks.

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