The Offering (1902; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

The Offering - Paul Gauguin - 1902; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleThe Offering
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1902; French Polynesia
Dimensions68 x 78 cm
Art MovementCloisonnism
Current LocationE.G. Bührle Foundation, Zürich, Switzerland

About The Offering

“The Offering” is a work of art completed in 1902 by the artist Paul Gauguin during his time in French Polynesia. The painting belongs to the Cloisonnism art movement and is executed in oil on canvas, measuring 68 by 78 centimeters in scale. This portrait is part of the collection held at the E.G. Bührle Foundation in Zürich, Switzerland.

The artwork features two prominent figures, likely Polynesian women. The figure on the left is holding a small bundle of white flowers delicately in her hands, while the woman on the right cradles a small child. Both subjects are portrayed with a solemn, reflective demeanor. The palette is rich with earth tones complemented by the lush green background suggesting a tropical environment. Their physical features and attire, along with the manner in which they hold the objects of their attention, evoke a sense of respect or ritual significance.

The composition and treatment of form exhibit the stylistic characteristics of Cloisonnism with bold outlines and areas of flat color. Gauguin’s style creates a distilled essence of the scene that seems to transcend the specificities of time and place, seeking to capture something universal in the human and cultural experience. The representation of these figures, rendered with a blend of empathy and exoticism, typifies Gauguin’s approach during his Tahitian period.

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