The red cow (1889; France) by Paul Gauguin

The red cow - Paul Gauguin - 1889; France

Artwork Information

TitleThe red cow
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1889; France
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationLos Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, CA, US

About The red cow

The artwork titled “The Red Cow” is an oil on canvas painting created by artist Paul Gauguin in 1889, during his time in France. This piece is emblematic of the Post-Impressionist movement, a genre known for its departure from Impressionism’s concern with the naturalistic depiction of light and color. As a genre painting, it reflects scenes of everyday life. The artwork is housed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in Los Angeles, California, United States.

The painting showcases a rural landscape with a prominent red cow in the foreground, seeming to traverse across the painting’s plane. In the background, two figures are engaged in agricultural labor, which contrasts with the idle stance of the cow. Various shades of green imbue the trees and grass with vibrancy, while the blue sky is punctuated by fluffy white clouds. The use of bold colors and the simplification of form are typical of Gauguin’s style, reflecting his Post-Impressionist approach to capturing the essence of the subject rather than its realistic details. The artwork exudes a pastoral tranquility while also subtly commenting on the relationship between humans and nature. The figure to the left, seemingly detached from the pastoral work, adds an element of introspection to the scene. Overall, the artwork conveys a sense of harmony within the rural setting, typical of genre paintings from this era.

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