Man with a Toque (c.1876; Paris, France) by Paul Gauguin

Man with a Toque - Paul Gauguin - c.1876; Paris, France

Artwork Information

TitleMan with a Toque
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Datec.1876; Paris, France
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationFogg Museum (Harvard Art Museums), Cambridge, MA, US

About Man with a Toque

The artwork titled “Man with a Toque” is an oil on canvas painting by artist Paul Gauguin, created circa 1876 in Paris, France. This portrait is an early work of Gauguin, who is later renowned for his contributions to the Post-Impressionist movement, although this particular piece reflects the aesthetics of Impressionism. The genre of this artwork is a portrait, and it presently resides in the Fogg Museum, which is part of the Harvard Art Museums located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States.

In the artwork, we see a man portrayed head-on, with a penetrating gaze that interacts directly with the viewer. He dons a toque—a brimless and flat hat that sits snugly on his head. The painting uses a relatively subdued color palette, with the background rendered in somber hues which contrasts slightly with the slightly warmer tones of the man’s face. The brushwork is loose and expressive, capturing the essence of the impressionistic style, which favors the conveyance of an impression or moment over meticulous detail. The subject’s features are rendered with enough detail to convey his visage and expression while allowing for the textured application of paint that is characteristic of the style. The man’s eyes are especially evocative, seemingly communicating a silent narrative of his life or mood at that moment. His somber expression is framed by the notable toque on his head and the dark attire he wears, further emphasizing his visage and the emotional gravity of the portrait.

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