Portrait of a seated man (1884; Amagerbro / Copenhagen / Amagerbro, Denmark) by Paul Gauguin

Portrait of a seated man - Paul Gauguin - 1884; Amagerbro / Copenhagen / Amagerbro, Denmark

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of a seated man
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1884; Amagerbro / Copenhagen / Amagerbro, Denmark
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Portrait of a seated man

The artwork “Portrait of a Seated Man” is an oil on canvas painting completed by Paul Gauguin in 1884. It was created during his time in Amagerbro, Copenhagen, in Denmark. This work is representative of the Impressionist movement, though Gauguin is often associated with Post-Impressionism and the Symbolist movement in his later works. As its genre suggests, the painting is a portrait, and it is currently held in a private collection.

In the artwork, the central figure is a man seated with his body turned slightly to the right, creating a semi-profile view. He is captured with a direct and firm gaze, his face wearing a solemn and contemplative expression. His hair is a reddish hue and he sports a distinct, well-groomed mustache. His attire consists of a dark jacket over a lighter vest or shirt, suggesting attire that is both formal and representative of the time period.

The man’s right hand is positioned forward, resting on a support—perhaps a desk or arm of a chair—with fingers delicately holding what appears to be a small, cylindrical object, perhaps a pen or a piece of smoking equipment like a pipe.

The background of the portrait holds a slightly abstract quality with loose brushwork, suggestive of a domestic interior without detailed rendering of the space. This allows the viewer’s focus to remain on the subject himself. Gauguin’s use of color is characteristic of the Impressionist palette but hints at the evolution of his style towards the richer, more symbolic use of color that would manifest in his later work.

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