Fire Dance (1891; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

Fire Dance - Paul Gauguin - 1891; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleFire Dance
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1891; French Polynesia
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationIsrael Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

About Fire Dance

The artwork entitled “Fire Dance” is a genre painting by Paul Gauguin created in 1891 during his time in French Polynesia. This oil on canvas is an emblem of the Post-Impressionism movement, a period noted for its vivid use of color and expressive brushwork, deviating from the preciseness of Impressionism towards more emotional representation. The “Fire Dance” is housed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Israel.

In “Fire Dance,” the rich, dark hues create a night scene illuminated by the fierce glow of a fire. Gauguin’s style is evident through the bold application of paint and the encapsulation of the primal essence of the scene. Human figures are gathered around the fire, depicted with varying degrees of abstraction. Some appear quite distinct with discernible gestures and poses, while others are more loosely defined, blending with the atmospheric effects of the light and dark. The dance itself seems dynamic, a central figure being silhouetted against the flame suggests movement and a communal energy. The artwork evokes themes of ritual and the exotic, capturing the imagination of the viewer by transporting them to a distant time and place, replete with the mystery and allure that so fascinated Gauguin during his time in the South Seas.

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