Brooding Woman (1891; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

Brooding Woman - Paul Gauguin - 1891; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleBrooding Woman
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1891; French Polynesia
Dimensions91.2 x 68.7 cm
Art MovementCloisonnism

About Brooding Woman

The artwork titled “Brooding Woman” is an oil on canvas painting by artist Paul Gauguin, originating from French Polynesia in 1891. It measures 91.2 by 68.7 centimeters and is classified as a genre painting. This piece is representative of the Cloisonnism movement, a style known for its bold and flat forms separated by dark contours, which Gauguin particularly favored during his artistic career.

In “Brooding Woman,” the viewer is presented with a scene featuring a female figure sitting on the ground, her legs folded beneath her. She is clad in a simple white dress that drapes over her body, and she supports her head with her hand in a contemplative or perhaps sorrowful pose. Her facial expression conveys a sense of inward reflection or concern, embodying the title’s suggestion of brooding. Notably, her gaze is directed away from the viewer, further emphasizing her detachment and absorption in her own thoughts.

The background of the painting reveals an outdoor setting with various elements that suggest a tropical locale. There is a figure in the distance riding a horse, which along with a dog nearby, adds to the narrative quality of the scene. The use of color is characteristic of Gauguin’s style, with contrasting hues delineating the woman and her environment. The flat planes of color and the outlines encasing forms are typical of the Cloisonnism technique, which was influenced by stained glass and Japanese prints. Overall, the artwork exudes an atmosphere of melancholy, encapsulated by the woman’s reflective pose and the stillness of the surroundings.

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