Taperaa Mahana (1892; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

Taperaa Mahana - Paul Gauguin - 1892; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleTaperaa Mahana
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1892; French Polynesia
Dimensions73 x 97 cm
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationHermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia

About Taperaa Mahana

The artwork entitled “Taperaa Mahana” was created by the French Post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin in 1892. This work, executed in oil on canvas, measures 73 by 97 centimeters and is categorized as a genre painting. It emanates from Gauguin’s period in French Polynesia and currently resides in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

“Taperaa Mahana” unfolds with vibrant hues and simplified forms, typical of Gauguin’s style in his Tahitian period. The scene depicts everyday life in French Polynesia, conveying a sense of serenity and harmonious existence with nature. Central to the painting are several figures, prominently a group of Tahitian women gathered in a circle, engaged in conversation or communal activities. Their traditional garments add splashes of rich color, perhaps indicating a local custom or social gathering. Other individuals are portrayed in various states of motion, including figures walking purposefully across the scene. The lush surroundings, imbued with varying shades of green, create a backdrop that is both tranquil and dreamlike, as is characteristic of Gauguin’s approach to encapsulating the essence of the locales he depicted.

Furthermore, this painting exemplifies Gauguin’s departure from the naturalistic representation and his embrace of the Symbolist movement’s influence, where color and form express emotion and idea more so than realistic depiction. The contrasting colors and the dreamy, almost abstract interpretation of the trees and the ground symbolize a departure from the conventions of Western art of the time and an embrace of a different cultural perspective and artistic innovation.

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