Breton Woman (1886; Pont-aven, France) by Paul Gauguin

Breton Woman - Paul Gauguin - 1886; Pont-aven, France

Artwork Information

TitleBreton Woman
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1886; Pont-aven, France
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationBurrell Collection, Glasgow, UK

About Breton Woman

The artwork titled “Breton Woman” is a notable piece by the artist Paul Gauguin, created in 1886 while he was in Pont-Aven, France. This sketch and study represent the Post-Impressionism movement and were crafted using chalk on paper. Currently, it is housed in the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, UK. This artwork showcases Gauguin’s interest in the lives and attire of the Breton people, a theme prevalent in some of his works during that period.

The artwork exhibits a somber palette with earthy tones and subtle hues, characteristic of the Post-Impressionistic style that seeks to convey emotion and symbolism beyond the immediate reality. It portrays a Breton woman captured from behind, poised in mid-motion, with her hands raised as if adjusting her headdress. The traditional costume, particularly the wide lace collar and the distinctively shaped headdress, suggests a focus on regional attire and is rendered with a mix of delicate lines and textural shading. The use of light and shadow, along with the loose, expressive chalk strokes, contribute to a sense of volume and form, while the composition’s simplicity ensures a focus on the figure and her cultural garb. The drawing provides insights into Gauguin’s artistic process and his fascination with the culture of Brittany, reflecting his ongoing search for a primitive purity and essence in his subjects.

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