Nevermore (1897) by Paul Gauguin

Nevermore - Paul Gauguin - 1897

Artwork Information

ArtistPaul Gauguin
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions60.5 x 116 cm
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationCourtauld Institute of Art, London, UK
Location Created Punaauia, French Polynesia

About Nevermore

The artwork “Nevermore,” created by the renowned artist Paul Gauguin in 1897, is an oil on canvas painting that embodies the Post-Impressionism movement. It measures 60.5 by 116 centimeters and falls within the nude painting genre. The piece was created in Punaauia, French Polynesia and is currently held in the Courtauld Institute of Art, located in London, UK.

The artwork portrays a reclining nude female figure resting on her side, with her head propped by her hand in a pensive or perhaps melancholic pose. This central figure’s skin tones are crafted in warm hues, contrasting with the cooler colors of the background. Behind her, two Tahitian women converse, their faces expressing a quiet intimacy. The depiction of the figures is stylized, with a flatness characteristic of Gauguin’s post-impressionistic approach to form and his disinterest in perspective.

A brooding blue bird perches beside an open window on the left, introducing a sense of foreboding or contemplation, reflected by the word “Nevermore” inscribed above the bird—possibly alluding to Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven.” The background includes a patterned tapestry, incorporating rich earthy tones and floral motifs, which further enrich the scene’s exoticism. The overall composition, with its juxtaposition of the nude figure and the symbolic elements, generates a narrative that is open to interpretation, leaving viewers to ponder its deeper meanings.

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