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The painting, which is unfinished and titled Tahitiens, was acquired by the gallery more than a century ago and included in its 2010 exhibition, Gauguin: Maker of Myth, at Tate Modern.
Art historians at the Wildenstein Plattner Institute in New York included it in their definitive catalogue of the French artist’s work in 1964 but has been dropped from the latest version.
The institute would not say why it was no longer included in the “exhaustive” catalogue but it comes after a French art historian raised doubts about its origins last year.
Fabrice Fourmanoir thinks the work, which show a man and three women sketched in charcoal and crayon, may be by another artist Charles Alfred Le Moine who lived in Tahiti at the same time as Gauguin.
He told The Art Newspaper: “It is a stereotypical colonial Tahiti scene, whereas Gauguin was looking for more primitive compositions. The details and composition of the picture are very typical of Le Moine.”
The work was presented to the Tate in 1917 but it has not been on display in London since the 2010 exhibition. When that show travelled to the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC the following year, Tahitiens was not included.
A Tate spokesman said: “The work was included by the Wildenstein Institute in the first edition of their Gauguin catalogue raisonne in 1964 and Tate was not contacted prior to the publication of their latest edition.
“We recognise there has been ongoing research into Gauguin’s work in recent years, so we will keep the work under review and retain an open mind about any research that might help cast familiar works in a new light.”