Four Breton Women (1886; Pont-aven, France) by Paul Gauguin

Four Breton Women - Paul Gauguin - 1886; Pont-aven, France

Artwork Information

TitleFour Breton Women
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1886; Pont-aven, France
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationNeue Pinakothek, Munich, Germany

About Four Breton Women

The artwork, “Four Breton Women,” was created by Paul Gauguin in the year 1886 while he was in Pont-Aven, France. Gauguin’s method employed oil on canvas to capture the essence of Post-Impressionism, a movement known for its vivid colors, thick paint application, and real-life subject matter. This genre painting, which exhibits daily life with a touch of the artist’s own interpretation, currently resides in the Neue Pinakothek in Munich, Germany.

In the artwork, Gauguin depicts four women from Brittany, a region in France known for its distinct traditional garments and cultural heritage. The women are shown engaged in what appears to be a casual exchange, characterized by their dynamic poses and interactions. The artist has rendered their traditional Breton costumes with careful attention to detail, particularly the large white headdresses that were typical of the region’s folk dress. Each woman’s attire, marked by patterns and varying shades, exhibits Gauguin’s interest in textile and his ability to communicate the texture through paint.

The background betrays a rural setting, likely a reflection of the rustic scenery in Pont-Aven, where Gauguin sought inspiration away from the city. The vegetation is painted with loose, expressive brushstrokes that complement the organic forms and enhance the painting’s overall atmosphere. Gauguin’s style strays from exact reproduction, instead embracing a more synthesized depiction of figures and background, allowing color, shape, and brushstroke to carry equally significant meaning in conveying the essence of the scene.

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