Les Miserables (1888) by Paul Gauguin

Les Miserables - Paul Gauguin - 1888

Artwork Information

TitleLes Miserables
ArtistPaul Gauguin
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions45 x 55 cm
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationVan Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Location Created Arles-sur-tech, France

About Les Miserables

The artwork “Les Miserables” is an oil on canvas painting created by the artist Paul Gauguin in 1888. This self-portrait, rendered in the distinctive style of Post-Impressionism, measures 45 by 55 centimeters and is currently housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The painting was executed in Arles-sur-tech, France. As a work of the Post-Impressionist movement, the piece exemplifies Gauguin’s use of bold colors and expressive techniques to convey deep emotional resonance.

The artwork features a robust color palette, dominated by the striking contrast of the vivid orange-yellow background against the darker tones of the subject’s clothing and features. Gauguin has positioned himself off-center, leaving a generous portion of the canvas to the right filled with abstract elements including floral motifs and a profile portrait. The self-portrait depicts the artist with a penetrating gaze, his face rendered with firm lines and a palette that uses greens and blues to sculpt his visage, perhaps suggesting an emotional or psychological state rather than a strict adherence to naturalistic coloration. With confident, bold strokes, the artwork conveys a sense of introspection and the complexity of the human psyche characteristic of Gauguin’s oeuvre. The inclusion of the name “Les Miserables” alongside the profile portrait provides an additional layer of interpretive depth, possibly alluding to themes of human struggle and resilience.

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