Flowers in a fruit bowl (1894; Paris, France) by Paul Gauguin

Flowers in a fruit bowl - Paul Gauguin - 1894; Paris, France

Artwork Information

TitleFlowers in a fruit bowl
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1894; Paris, France
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationMuseum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston, MA, US

About Flowers in a fruit bowl

The artwork “Flowers in a fruit bowl” is a still life created by Paul Gauguin in 1894 while he was in Paris, France. This oil on canvas piece is a representation of the Post-Impressionism movement and is currently housed at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston, MA, US. As a genre, the still life allows for an exploration of shape, color, and composition, and Gauguin’s piece serves as a testament to these artistic pursuits.

The artwork depicts a vibrant and colorful arrangement that is at once both simple and intricate. At the center, a glass vase, ornately decorated with a relief of what appears to be classical figures, holds a bouquet of flowers. These flowers vary in color from soft whites and pinks to deep purples and blues, suggesting variety and contrast. The background consists of a richly-hued yellow tablecloth with soft folds that lend a gentle movement to the scene. A fruit bowl sits casually off to the right side of the vase, containing oranges and what appears to be a lemon, their round shapes and bold colors providing a visual balance to the delicate petals of the flowers. A small bowl with an ornamental pattern can be seen next to the fruit bowl, adding another layer of depth and detail to the still life.

The use of light in the artwork is particularly notable, with highlights and shadows cast across the objects and the cloth, creating a sense of dimensionality and texture. Gauguin’s characteristic use of color is also prominent here—the vivid hues and the dynamics between them play a critical role in the composition, drawing the viewer’s eye across the canvas and emphasizing the artist’s departure from the more naturalistic palette of earlier movements. The table is angled, providing a sense of perspective and allowing the objects to be displayed with a casual elegance that invites contemplation. In its arrangement and execution, this piece exemplifies the post-impressionist trend towards a more symbolic and abstract use of form and color.

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