“Paysannes Bretonnes” or “Breton Peasant Women” is a genre painting created by French artist Paul Gauguin in 1894 using oil on canvas. As a pioneer of Symbolism, Gauguin was interested in non-Western cultures and traditions, which are evident in this artwork’s fusion of influences and sources.
The piece measures 66 x 92.5 cm and is currently on display at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Gauguin’s signature, “P. Gauguin 94”, appears in the bottom left-hand corner. Gauguin’s use of cloisonnism is clear in this piece, where he outlines his subjects with bold black lines and fills them with flat, bright colors.
“Paysannes Bretonnes” depicts two Breton peasant women clad in traditional outfits of the region. The women are holding hands, leaning into each other, and looking sternly at the onlooker. The painting’s somber mood and the women’s stiff poses reveal Gauguin’s interest in the human psyche and emotional inner turmoil.