Tahitians at rest (unfinished) (c.1891; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

Tahitians at rest (unfinished) - Paul Gauguin - c.1891; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleTahitians at rest (unfinished)
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Datec.1891; French Polynesia
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Tahitians at rest (unfinished)

The artwork “Tahitians at rest (unfinished)” is an oil on cardboard creation by the renowned artist Paul Gauguin, dating from around 1891. This piece exemplifies the genre painting style and is associated with the Post-Impressionist movement, which was notable for its expressive use of color and symbolic content. Although incomplete, the artwork remains a significant example of Gauguin’s thematic and stylistic preoccupations during his time in French Polynesia. Currently, it is held in a private collection, not readily accessible for public viewing.

In the artwork, the viewer observes a scene of daily life with several Tahitian individuals, captured with a mix of outlined sketches and painted figures, embodying the unfinished state of the piece. On the left, one figure is more fully realized, painted with a rich skin tone, depicting a person in a dynamic pose, possibly in mid-motion or dance. This figure is juxtaposed against the sketch of another seated individual, rendered in detail but lacking color. To the right, two more figures are visible in varying stages of draftsmanship, one seated and the other reclining, both unfinished. The merging of the unfinished sketches with the more complete elements reflects Gauguin’s unique approach to color and form, as well as his immersion in the life and environment of the Tahitian people.

The background suggests a lush, vibrant landscape characteristic of French Polynesia. The artist has sketched in the outlines of rich foliage, setting a verdant stage for the human subjects. The scenery, although incomplete, hints at the tropical locale that greatly inspired Gauguin’s art during this period. Despite its unfinished state, this artwork conveys a strong sense of place and offers insight into Gauguin’s process, leaving viewers to ponder on the potential completion and the stories the figures might tell.

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