Sunday, 8 May 2016


“I shut my eyes in order to see.” - Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin, (Eugène-Henri-) was born June 7th, 1848, Paris; died, May 8, 1903, Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia. He is one of the leading French painters of the Postimpressionist period, whose development of a conceptual method of representation was a decisive step for 20th-century art. After spending a short period with Vincent van Gogh in Arles (1888), Gauguin increasingly abandoned imitative art for expressiveness through colour. 

From 1891 he lived and worked in Tahiti and elsewhere in the South Pacific. Gauguin’s art has all the appearance of a flight from civilisation, of a search for new ways of life, more primitive, more real and more sincere. His break away from a solid middle-class world, abandoning family, children and job, his refusal to accept easy glory and easy gain are the best-known aspects of Gauguin’s fascinating life and personality.

During his first stay in Tahiti (he was to leave in 1893, only to return in 1895 and remain until his death), Gauguin discovered primitive art, with its flat forms and the violent colors belonging to an untamed nature. And then, with absolute sincerity, he transferred them onto canvas.

The painting above is “Two Women” was painted in 1901 or 1902. It is Oil on canvas (73.7 x 92.1 cm) and exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum in new York. Gauguin based this formidable composition on a photograph of two women seated side by side on the stoop of a house. The photograph was taken in 1897 by Henri Lemasson in Mataeia, Tahiti (Archives Nationales d'Outre-Mer, Aix-en-Provence – see it here). Brettell (1988) identifies the younger woman as Teahu A Raatairi and the older woman as Teahu’s aunt by marriage, although Laudon (2003) asserts that the older woman is Teahu. Gauguin painted it just before or after his 1901 departure from Tahiti for the Marquesas Islands.

No comments:

Post a Comment