The boss’s daughter (1886; Paris, France) by Paul Gauguin

The boss's daughter - Paul Gauguin - 1886; Paris, France

Artwork Information

TitleThe boss's daughter
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1886; Paris, France
Dimensions55.3 x 46 cm
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationLe Prieuré (Musée départemental Maurice-Denis), Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France

About The boss's daughter

The artwork titled “The Boss’s Daughter” is a creation of the artist Paul Gauguin, completed in the year 1886, during his time in Paris, France. This oil on canvas portrait is a notable piece of the Post-Impressionism art movement. The artwork measures 55.3 by 46 centimeters and falls within the genre of portraiture. It is currently housed at Le Prieuré, which is also known as the Musée départemental Maurice-Denis, located in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France.

In this portrait, the subject is a young female figure set against a richly textured background suggestive of foliage, merging Post-Impressionist interest in nature with human subjects. The brushwork is loose and expressive, a hallmark of Gauguin’s pioneering technique that favored emotion and symbolism over realism. The woman’s face is rendered with particular attention to the play of light and shadow, illuminating her features and imbuing them with vitality, while the shadowed parts hint at a deeper, introspective quality.

The model’s direct gaze engages the viewer, creating a sense of connection to the subject. Her attire, particularly the brightly colored scarf wrapped around her neck, showers the composition with a vivid contrast to the otherwise muted palette. This scarf is a focal point of the work, as it is rendered in quick, animated strokes of red and orange, demonstrating Gauguin’s interest in color as a means to convey feeling. The overall effect of the portrait is intimate and candid, showcasing Gauguin’s ability to capture the essence of his subject while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of the portraiture genre.

The positioning of the young woman is straightforward and does not stray into the realm of idealization, indicating Gauguin’s move towards representation that is both personal and symbolically rich. Overall, “The Boss’s Daughter” stands as an intriguing specimen of Post-Impressionist portraiture, reflective of the artist’s evolving style during that period.

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