The little valley (c.1891; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

The little valley - Paul Gauguin - c.1891; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleThe little valley
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Datec.1891; French Polynesia
Art MovementCloisonnism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About The little valley

“The Little Valley” is an artwork by Paul Gauguin, a renowned Post-Impressionist artist, completed circa 1891 during his time in French Polynesia. The piece is executed in oil on canvas and is part of the Cloisonnism art movement, which is characterized by bold and flat forms separated by dark contours. This landscape genre painting is currently housed in a private collection. Gauguin was known for his experimental use of color and synthetist style that was distinct from Impressionism.

The artwork depicts a vibrant, lush landscape filled with rich, earthy tones and a variety of textures. In the foreground, the viewer encounters an undulating terrain of vibrant orange and red soil that gently slopes downwards towards a cluster of habitation nestled in the valley. This section of the composition is highlighted by patches of greenery and hints of agricultural activity, suggesting the fertility of the land.

Central to the composition is an expansive tree, with a dark, rounded canopy that dominates the middleground, serving as an anchor for the viewer’s gaze. The lush greenery around the tree contrasts with the warm colors of the field, creating a dynamic interplay of color and form. The sky, while subdued compared to the earthy tones of the land, features gentle blue hues and wisps of cloud that impart a sense of depth and openness to the valley’s expanse.

Further back in the scene, additional greenery and rolling hills create a backdrop, accented by the silhouettes of palm trees that infuse the scene with a distinctly tropical ambiance. The presence of human figures, although small and not the central focus, imbues the artwork with a sense of scale and activity. There is a fine blend of natural and human elements, reflecting Gauguin’s interest in capturing the essence of the places he visited.

Finally, the painting’s border is graced by Gauguin’s signature, a testament to his authorship and the personal connection he felt with the scenes he painted. Overall, “The Little Valley” is a vivid portrayal of a serene natural environment, harmoniously inhabited, and captured with an artistic vision that emphasizes color, form, and emotive interpretation.

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