Flight (1901; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

Flight - Paul Gauguin - 1901; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1901; French Polynesia
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationPushkin Museum, Moscow, Russia

About Flight

The artwork titled “Flight,” created by artist Paul Gauguin in 1901 during his time in French Polynesia, exemplifies the Post-Impressionist movement. This oil on canvas genre painting is currently housed at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, Russia. The work reflects Gauguin’s signature style, characterized by bold colors, strong lines, and a departure from the naturalistic depictions of earlier art movements.

“Flight” presents a scene imbued with vibrant, almost discordant colors, and a distinct use of form that conveys a sense of the primitive and the exotic, signatures of Gauguin’s style. Two central figures dominate the composition: one seated on a startled horse, the other standing and appearing to touch a tree, possibly steadying himself. Their gestures suggest movement and urgency, aligning with the painting’s title, which implies action or escape. Around them, the landscape flourishes with lush foliage and the fiery hues of a setting or rising sun, casting a dramatic light upon the scene. Distance is collapsed, and space seems ambiguous, flattened by the force of color and bold outlines, characteristic of Gauguin’s approach to painting. The background features more figures, which contribute to the narrative while further enhancing the composition’s depth. Overall, “Flight” is an exemplar of Gauguin’s innovative approach to capturing the spirit and essence of his experiences in the South Pacific.

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