Self portrait, at work (c.1893; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

Self portrait, at work - Paul Gauguin - c.1893; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleSelf portrait, at work
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Datec.1893; French Polynesia
Dimensions32 x 21.5 cm
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Self portrait, at work

The artwork “Self-portrait, at work” is a creation by the artist Paul Gauguin from around 1893, during his time in French Polynesia. This piece, a self-portrait, exemplifies the Post-Impressionist movement. Gauguin has employed pencil and watercolor on paper as his mediums, and the finished work measures 32 x 21.5 cm. Currently, the self-portrait is part of a private collection.

In the artwork, we observe Gauguin depicted from the back, engaged in his artistic process. His attention appears to be entirely absorbed by the easel in front of him, which holds an unseen canvas. The artist is wearing a patterened pareo, indicative of the local attire in French Polynesia, with a warm, rich red hue decorated with floral motifs. His upper body is rendered with minimal color, emphasizing the contrast with the vibrant garment. Gauguin’s environment includes lush foliage that peeks into the composition, adding a sense of tropical location. Notably, the piece presents a duality of detail; while the pareo is intricately patterned, the surrounding environment and Gauguin’s own figure are sketched with a degree of simplicity and abstraction. This juxtaposition might reflect the artist’s focus on his immediate work environment while allowing the periphery to fade into more impressionistic forms.

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