The Port Of Rouen (1884; France) by Paul Gauguin

The Port Of Rouen - Paul Gauguin - 1884; France

Artwork Information

TitleThe Port Of Rouen
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1884; France
Dimensions46 x 65 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About The Port Of Rouen

“The Port of Rouen,” an artwork created by Paul Gauguin in 1884 in France, reflects the Impressionist movement. This oil on canvas landscape measures 46 x 65 cm and showcases Gauguin’s interpretation of this bustling hub of commerce and trade. The artwork, which currently resides in a private collection, depicts a vivid and atmospheric view of the port, with its natural and industrial elements captured in Gauguin’s distinctive style.

The artwork presents a vibrant and textured scene of the Port of Rouen, with a focus on the relationship between the industrial and the natural. In the foreground, a large, dark-hulled ship anchors the composition on the left, with its rigging extending upwards and out of the frame. The ship’s substantial form contrasts with the delicately painted rippling water of the port, which reflects the overcast sky and captures the fleeting effects of light and color that are so characteristic of Impressionist painting.

Moving across the artwork, the viewer’s eye is led into the background by a series of other vessels of varying sizes, suggesting the activity and economic importance of the port. The horizon is punctuated by buildings and infrastructure that line the waterfront, while a bridge spans the river in the midground, connecting the two sides of the port. Throughout the scene, Gauguin employs loose, confident brushstrokes and a muted, yet harmonious palette dominated by grays, blues, greens, and earth tones to evoke the atmospheric conditions of a cloudy day.

Above, the sky takes up a significant portion of the artwork, with mottled clouds rendered in vigorous brushwork emphasizing the transient nature of light and weather. These elements together construct not just a mere representation of the physical location, but also an impression of the bustling energy and changing environment of the Port of Rouen as perceived by the artist. Gauguin’s work here is indicative of his early development as a painter and his engagement with the Impressionist approach to depicting modern life and its surroundings.

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