Landscape near Arles (1888; Arles-sur-tech, France) by Paul Gauguin

Landscape near Arles - Paul Gauguin - 1888; Arles-sur-tech, France

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Artwork Information

TitleLandscape near Arles
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1888; Arles-sur-tech, France
Dimensions91.4 x 72.5 cm
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationIndianapolis Museum of Art (IMA), Indianapolis, IN, US

About Landscape near Arles

The artwork “Landscape near Arles” was painted by Paul Gauguin in 1888, during his time in Arles-sur-tech, France. It is an oil on canvas that measures 91.4 x 72.5 cm and exemplifies the Post-Impressionist movement. As a landscape genre piece, it captures the rural scenery around Arles. Presently, this painting is held in the collection of the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) located in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States.

In the artwork, Gauguin has depicted a serene rural landscape that encompasses a variety of elements usual to the countryside around Arles. The scene is dominated by warm, earthy tones interspersed with patches of green, indicating vegetation. In the foreground, Gauguin places a large, rounded haystack that draws the viewer’s eye. Beyond it, the middle ground features more fields with a golden hue, suggestive of harvested or ready-to-harvest crops.

The background consists of unassuming buildings with the characteristic red-tiled roofs common in Southern France. A particularly striking feature of the painting is the presence of the cypress trees with their typical vertical growth, lending a sense of height and structure to the composition. The trees appear to sway, possibly indicating the movement of the wind through the scene. The sky is rendered in a blend of soft pinks, blues, and cream, creating a calm atmosphere that contrasts the detailed treatment of the terrestrial elements.

Gauguin’s technique involves the application of bold blocks of color and a somewhat flattened perspective, rejecting traditional three-dimensional space – hallmarks of the Post-Impressionist approach that sought to bring a more subjective and emotional expression to painting beyond the naturalistic rendition of the Impressionists. The artwork reflects the artist’s intent to evoke more than just the visual aspect of the landscape, perhaps touching upon the essence and feeling of the place and time.

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