The Call (1902; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

The Call - Paul Gauguin - 1902; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleThe Call
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1902; French Polynesia
Art MovementCloisonnism

About The Call

“The Call” is an artwork by Paul Gauguin, completed in 1902 during his time in French Polynesia. It is an oil painting on canvas that epitomizes the Cloisonnism art movement, which Gauguin was a notable proponent of. As a genre painting, it captures an aspect of daily life or a scene that tells a story about the people depicted.

The artwork presents a vibrant scene with three figures in a lush landscape. They are surrounded by an array of vivid, almost iridescent colors that reflect the tropical environment of French Polynesia. On the left, one figure is seated on the ground, viewed from the back, gazing out at the landscape. The two other figures are standing; the one in the middle, wrapped in a light pink garment, has her arm affectionately around the shoulder of the third figure, who is pointing away into the distance, suggesting a narrative element, or a “call” to something beyond the frame of the artwork. The use of bold outlines and blocks of color are characteristic of the Cloisonnism style, and Gauguin’s unique approach to representing form and space. In the foreground, a still life of tropical flora adds richness to the composition, contrasting with the organic shapes that dominate the scene.

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