Tahitian Scene (c.1892; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

Tahitian Scene - Paul Gauguin - c.1892; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleTahitian Scene
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Datec.1892; French Polynesia
Art MovementJaponism
Current LocationThielska Galleriet, Stockholm, Sweden

About Tahitian Scene

The artwork titled “Tahitian Scene,” created circa 1892, is a testament to the talent of French artist Paul Gauguin, renowned for his integral role in the Japonism art movement. Executed on paper with watercolor, this genre painting captures the essence of French Polynesia, offering an insightful portrayal of everyday life in that region during the time. The work belongs to the collection of Thielska Galleriet in Stockholm, Sweden, allowing audiences to immerse themselves in the rich cultural and visual narrative presented by Gauguin.

The artwork depicts a tranquil and idyllic scene of Tahiti with three figures—presumably local Tahitian women—engaged in various activities. On the left, a seated woman is intently focused on a task in her hands, which is not clearly distinguishable, perhaps indicative of a moment of daily work or craft. The central figure stands, her attention directed off-canvas, as if she is interacting with someone or something beyond our view; she holds a white cloth, adding to the narrative of domestic life. To the right, another figure squats close to the ground, also engaged in an activity, cradling a large blue bowl with intricate detailing that suggests a connection to local customs or domestic practices.

The presence of a reclining dog in the foreground introduces a peaceful domestic element to the scene, further emphasizing the laid-back and harmonious life in Tahiti. The environment is portrayed with a harmonized blend of warm earth tones and cooler blues and greens, reflecting the natural tropical landscape. A tree stretches upward through the center of the composition, serving as a compositional anchor that divides the scene and adds to the balanced, yet free-flowing nature of the painting. Gauguin’s signature use of flat areas of color, inspired by Japanese prints, along with his bold outlines and simplified forms are visible, evoking a sense of serenity and simplicity that often characterizes his depictions of Tahitian life.

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