Paul Gauguin

Women on the Seashore

Women on the Seashore
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Paul Gauguin
Painting, Oil on canvas, 95.5x73.5 cm
Origin: France, 1899

Abandoning European civilisation, Gauguin spent much of the last twelve years of his life in Tahiti. Here, in the exotic world of Oceania, where life rolled on smoothly and naturally, he seemed to find that harmony which he sought. The theme of motherhood recurred throughout the Polynesian period of Gauguin's life but this work was linked with a concrete event, the birth of a son by the artist's second Tahitian wife, Pahura, in 1899. A real scene is transformed into a holy ritual and indeed the composition recalls traditional European religious paintings showing the Adoration of Christ. The central woman with her flowers and hands clasped as if in prayer majestically forms the background to the gentle woman feeding her child. The sense of significance and meaning is balanced by a decorative effect created by means of the rhythmically arranged large areas of colour and repeated contours which are characteristic of Gauguin's very individual style.

Style: Post-Impressionism
Source of entry: State Museum of New Western Art, Moscow, 1948
Exibition: French Art: 19th - 20th centuries

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