The British composer Frederick Delius (1862-1934) purchased Nevermore from Daniel de Monfreid in 1898 for 500 francs. Gauguin wrote to Monfreid, ‘you did well to let Delius have the picture Nevermore. You remember that you reproached me for having given a title to the picture. Don’t you think that the title ‘Nevermore’ was the cause of the purchase, perhaps?’

This picture was painted in late February 1897, shortly after the death of Gauguin's newborn child with his ‘vahiné’ or companion, Pahura. Gauguin’s European daughter Aline also died around that time and Gauguin received news of her passing in April 1897. He was so distressed that he tried to commit suicide shortly thereafter, by drinking arsenic. His body rejected the poison and his attempt failed. Movingly, wanting to leave a lasting legacy before taking his life, Gauguin painted some of his most powerful canvases at that period.