Still life with onions, beetroot and Japanese print (1889; France) by Paul Gauguin

Still life with onions, beetroot and Japanese print - Paul Gauguin - 1889; France

Artwork Information

TitleStill life with onions, beetroot and Japanese print
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1889; France
Art MovementJaponism

About Still life with onions, beetroot and Japanese print

The artwork titled “Still life with onions, beetroot, and Japanese print” was created by the renowned artist Paul Gauguin in 1889 while in France. It is an oil painting on canvas that falls under the genre of still life and is influenced by the Japonism art movement, which was characterized by the fascination with Japanese art and culture.

In this painting, Gauguin exhibits a bold composition and a vibrant use of color that captures a collection of vegetables and a Japanese print. The viewer’s attention is drawn to the foreground where a variety of onions, displaying rich and warm shades of yellow and orange, are positioned beside a beetroot standing out with its deep red hue. The greens of the beetroot’s leafy stalk create a pleasant contrast, while a terracotta pot adds earthiness to the palette. At the edge of a draped white cloth, two green fruits lie adjacent to one another, providing a complementary cool tone to the warmer colors.

Behind these central elements, the artwork reveals the corner of a Japanese print, recognizable by its stylized figure and distinct outlining, which is a typical characteristic of Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints. The print exhibits a portion of a human figure dressed in blue and red, which adds a cultural layer and depth to the composition. Its inclusion not only denotes Gauguin’s interest in Japanese art but also directly manifests the Japonism movement’s influence on his work. The background is composed of subdued tones, allowing the still life arrangement to dominate visually. Gauguin’s technique and the thick application of paint give the composition a sense of immediacy and tactile quality, emphasizing the materiality of the subjects depicted and aligning with the Post-Impressionist style he is often associated with.

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