Portrait of Philibert Favre (1885; Paris, France) by Paul Gauguin

Portrait of Philibert Favre - Paul Gauguin - 1885; Paris, France

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of Philibert Favre
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1885; Paris, France
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Portrait of Philibert Favre

The artwork “Portrait of Philibert Favre” was created by the artist Paul Gauguin in 1885, during his time in Paris, France. This oil on panel painting exemplifies the Impressionist movement, a genre in which Gauguin was actively experimenting during that period. The portrait genre was a common subject for many Impressionist artists, and Gauguin was no exception, utilizing it to explore the character and presence of his subjects. Currently, the artwork resides within a private collection.

The formal composition of the artwork captures the dignified essence of Philibert Favre. With a sensitive application of paint, Gauguin renders the subject’s visage with particular attention to the play of light and shadow across the features of Favre’s face. The painting’s brushwork is varied and loose, characteristic of the Impressionist style, creating a sense of immediacy and a suggestion of the fleeting nature of the moment. The color palette employed by Gauguin comprises warm tones that seem to suggest the interior atmosphere wherein the subject is seated. The intricate strokes of ochres, whites, and rich earth tones imbue the painting with a vibrancy that contrasts with the seemingly contemplative and staid expression of Favre.

The background of the artwork is a mélange of abstract forms and muted colors that recede, allowing the viewer’s focus to remain fixed on the subject’s visage. The broad, swift brushwork in the backdrop contrasts subtly with the more finely detailed treatment of the subject’s face and clothing, highlighting the introspective character of the work. Gauguin’s choice of technique and color in this portrait is indicative of his exploration within the Impressionist movement, capturing both the psychological depth and the ephemeral quality of light, which were central to the movement’s philosophy.

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