Delectable Waters (1898; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

Delectable Waters - Paul Gauguin - 1898; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleDelectable Waters
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1898; French Polynesia
Dimensions74.5 x 95.7 cm
Art MovementCloisonnism

About Delectable Waters

“Delectable Waters,” crafted by the esteemed artist Paul Gauguin in 1898 during his time in French Polynesia, is a distinguished example of the Cloisonnism art movement. The artwork was executed using oil on canvas and spans dimensions of 74.5 by 95.7 centimeters. Recognized as a genre painting, it serves not only as an aesthetic creation but also as a visual narrative capturing a moment or experience from daily life.

The artwork projects a deeply vivid tableau imbued with strong color contrasts and bold outlines characteristic of Cloisonnism. This piece exhibits a scene with a group of figures set against an expressive landscape of lush foliage and suggestive twilight. In the foreground, a standing nude female figure commands the viewer’s attention with her poised stance and direct gaze. To her right are two seated figures, intimately posed, while another crouches alone to her left. In the background, we note additional figures—one prominently featured in blue—amidst the exotic ambiance of the setting. Gauguin’s use of flat areas of color and the rhythmic play of outlines encapsulates his distinctive approach to portraying the physical and spiritual essence of the Polynesian people and their environment. His rejection of conventional perspective and embrace of a personal, symbolically rich style invites contemplation on the cultural and existential themes that permeate his work.

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