In the Waves (1889; France) by Paul Gauguin

In the Waves - Paul Gauguin - 1889; France

Artwork Information

TitleIn the Waves
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1889; France
Dimensions92 x 72 cm
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationCleveland Museum of Art (CMA), Cleveland, OH, US

About In the Waves

“In the Waves,” crafted by the illustrious Paul Gauguin in the year 1889, is an oil on canvas masterpiece exemplary of the Post-Impressionist movement. Measuring 92 by 72 centimeters, this artwork embraces the genre of the nude painting (nu). It presently resides within the esteemed Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) located in Cleveland, Ohio, United States.

The artwork portrays a naked female figure from behind, her body juxtaposed against a tumultuous sea of green waves. The figure’s skin is rendered in a pale hue, starkly contrasting with the vibrant environment in which she is placed. Gauguin’s use of color is characteristic of his style, diverging from naturalistic tones in favor of a more imaginative palette that heightens the emotional impact of the scene. The woman’s pose, with one arm raised to her head and the other extended outwards, in conjunction with the fluid lines and dynamic brushwork, conveys a sense of motion and accentuates the connection of the figure with the surrounding waves. The background and foreground merge seamlessly, blurring the lines between the figure and the landscape.

Contrary to traditional depiction that focuses on detail and naturalism, Gauguin has employed broad, flat areas of color and a simplified form to encapsulate the essence of the subject rather than its meticulous representation. Through this work, Gauguin delves into the exploration of form, color, and the emotional resonance of the subject matter, which are foundational elements of the Post-Impressionistic approach to art.

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