Girl with a Fan (1902; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

Girl with a Fan - Paul Gauguin - 1902; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleGirl with a Fan
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1902; French Polynesia
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationFolkwang Museum, Essen, Germany

About Girl with a Fan

“Girl with a Fan,” an artwork by Paul Gauguin crafted in 1902, exemplifies the Post-Impressionist movement. Originating in French Polynesia, this oil on canvas portrait belongs to the Folkwang Museum’s collection in Essen, Germany.

The artwork portrays a seated female subject, positioned against a warm, earth-toned background that contrasts with the cool hues of her attire and the fan she holds. Gauguin has applied the oil paint with a distinctive touch that is emblematic of Post-Impressionist techniques, balancing between representation and abstraction. The girl’s gaze confronts the viewer directly, creating an intimate yet enigmatic atmosphere. Her exposed shoulder and the loose drape of her white garment hint at a casual, unguarded moment, inviting contemplation on her thoughts and surroundings.

The painting is notable for its use of color and line, the simplification of form, and the emotional resonance characteristic of Gauguin’s work. Gauguin’s interest in the exotic and his time spent in French Polynesia have clearly informed the subject matter and presentation of the artwork, contributing to the overall primal and serene quality of the composition. The subtle inclusion of floral elements in the background, along with the ornamentation on the fan, evoke a sense of place and cultural context that is deeply intertwined with the artist’s experiences in the Pacific Islands.

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