Olden times (1892; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

Olden times - Paul Gauguin - 1892; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleOlden times
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1892; French Polynesia
Dimensions91 x 69 cm
Art MovementCloisonnism
Current LocationThyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid, Spain

About Olden times

The artwork titled “Olden times” by Paul Gauguin, dating back to 1892, is an oil on canvas painting embodying the Cloisonnism art movement. With dimensions of 91 by 69 centimeters, this genre painting is currently housed in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, Spain. It was created during Gauguin’s time in French Polynesia, reflecting the influence of the location on his artistic style and choice of subject.

Within the artwork, a vivid and color-rich landscape unfolds, indicative of Gauguin’s post-impressionist approach. The central figure is a statue-like depiction, possibly representing an idol or deity, sitting with inscrutable poise. Surrounding this central figure are Polynesian women in various poses and activities, some standing and others seated. The landscape is imbued with deep purples, rich greens, and shades of yellow in the foliage, which give an almost dreamlike quality to the scene. The stylized treatment of the figures and the landscape, along with the bold outline of elements, is characteristic of Cloisonnism, a movement that emphasized flat areas of color and bold outlines.

The artists’ signature and a word that appears to be “MATA MIA” can be seen at the bottom left of the artwork, while the date “’92” confirms the year of its creation at the bottom right. The combination of figurative and landscape elements in such rich colors creates a snapshot of the life and environment that captivated Gauguin during his time in Polynesia.

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