Mango pickers (Martinique) (1887; Martinique) by Paul Gauguin

Mango pickers (Martinique) - Paul Gauguin - 1887; Martinique

Artwork Information

TitleMango pickers (Martinique)
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1887; Martinique
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationVan Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

About Mango pickers (Martinique)

The artwork titled “Mango pickers (Martinique)” was created by Paul Gauguin in 1887 during his stay in Martinique. This oil on canvas embodies the characteristics of the Post-Impressionism movement, specifically falling under the genre painting category. The piece is currently housed at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, where it contributes to the representation of Post-Impressionist art.

In the artwork, we observe a scene of daily life capturing the labor of mango pickers. The composition is rich with tropical colors and the foliage of Martinique. In the foreground, a figure stands with a basket balanced atop their head, clearly just having been filled or in the process of being used for collecting mangoes. Their attire includes a vibrant patterned fabric, indicative of the regional dress. The person’s posture signals a moment of motion or rest in the midst of work.

To the right, another figure is actively engaged in picking fruit from a tree, their arm outstretched to reach the mangoes. Their positioning, with one foot propped against the tree trunk for leverage, conveys the physical effort involved in the task. Further to the right, a seated individual is focused on peeling or perhaps eating a mango, a gesture that suggests a break from the labor or a taste of the fruit’s sweetness.

In the background, the tropical environment is hinted at with a glimpse of livestock, suggesting a rural, agrarian landscape. Gauguin’s style here is marked by bold brushstrokes and a vivid color palette, which signal his departure from naturalism and illustrates his unique interpretation of the exotic scenery and local life he encountered during his travels. Overall, the artwork powerfully conveys the intricate relationship between the people and their environment, immortalizing the simple yet demanding task of mango picking.

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