Mette Gauguin in an Evening Dress (1884; Amagerbro / Copenhagen / Amagerbro, Denmark) by Paul Gauguin

Mette Gauguin in an Evening Dress - Paul Gauguin - 1884; Amagerbro / Copenhagen / Amagerbro, Denmark

Artwork Information

TitleMette Gauguin in an Evening Dress
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1884; Amagerbro / Copenhagen / Amagerbro, Denmark
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationNational Gallery, Oslo, Norway

About Mette Gauguin in an Evening Dress

The artwork titled “Mette Gauguin in an Evening Dress” was created by the artist Paul Gauguin in 1884 while he was in Amagerbro, Copenhagen, Denmark. This oil on canvas portrait is reflective of the Impressionist movement, and it is currently housed in the National Gallery in Oslo, Norway. As an Impressionist piece, this work is part of a movement known for its approach to capturing the effects of light and color, often with a focus on scenes from everyday life.

The artwork depicts a woman seated in profile against a dark, textured background that suggests an indoor setting. The woman, Mette Gauguin, who is the wife of the artist, is shown looking to the right, beyond the frame of the artwork, giving an impression of contemplative thought or engagement with someone out of view. Her attire is distinctly formal, characteristic of an evening dress with light tones that contrast with the darker surroundings, highlighting her as the central subject.

She wears a delicate dress with short sleeves and a low neckline, suggesting an air of elegance and sophistication. Her cream-colored gloves, a fashionable accessory at the time, adorn her hands and extend just past her wrists. The careful rendering of her attire and the attention to the texture and fall of the fabric emphasize the skill of the painter in capturing different materials and their respective qualities. A choker necklace sits around her neck, accentuating the formal characteristic of her attire, while her hair is styled up, a common fashion of the era.

On her right, there appears to be a mirror with an ornate, dark frame, partially reflecting the ambiance of the room and contributing to a sense of depth and space. To the right foreground, a piece of furniture is implied, upon which her right arm gently rests. These elements underscore the domestic setting and personal subject matter typical of many Impressionist works, as artists of the era frequently portrayed their immediate environment and daily life. The brushstrokes visible in the depiction of her dress, gloves, and features capture the essence of the Impressionist technique, with a looser, more expressive approach than that of their Realist predecessors.

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