The guitar player (1894; Paris, France) by Paul Gauguin

The guitar player - Paul Gauguin - 1894; Paris, France

Artwork Information

TitleThe guitar player
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1894; Paris, France
Art MovementCloisonnism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About The guitar player

“The Guitar Player” is an artwork completed by the artist Paul Gauguin in 1894, during his Paris period. This oil on canvas creation embodies the Cloisonnism style—a form of post-Impressionism known for bold outlines and flat areas of color. As a genre painting, the artwork depicts everyday life in a manner that delves into the visual and emotional intrigue of common subjects. Currently, this piece is held in a private collection, suggesting that it is not readily viewable by the public.

In the artwork, the viewer is presented with a figure of a man seated and wholly absorbed in the act of playing the guitar. His posture is relaxed and contemplative, with his head slightly bowed towards the instrument as if connecting with the music on a profound level. The color scheme is characterized by warm, vivid tones, particularly notable in the background, which varies from yellow to orange hues, contributing to the intense, immersive atmosphere of the scene.

Gauguin’s distinctive technique is evident in the stark contrasts and the outlines that separate the colors, emphasizing the two-dimensional aspect of the piece. The clothing of the guitar player, the dark shades of his attire, and the bright red of his loincloth offer a pop of color that draws the eye. Despite the simplification of forms customary to Cloisonnism, there is a tangible depth conveyed in the emotion of the music-making moment and the inward focus of the musician. The artist has included abstract elements as well, noticeable in the swirling, smoke-like forms appearing to emanate from the guitar, perhaps symbolizing the music itself and its ethereal qualities. These elements all combine to create an artwork rich with symbolism, echoing emotions, and resonating with the innovative spirit of early modern art.

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