The Sorcerer of Hiva Oa (Marquesan Man in the Red Cape) (1902; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

The Sorcerer of Hiva Oa (Marquesan Man in the Red Cape) - Paul Gauguin - 1902; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleThe Sorcerer of Hiva Oa (Marquesan Man in the Red Cape)
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1902; French Polynesia
Art MovementPost-Impressionism

About The Sorcerer of Hiva Oa (Marquesan Man in the Red Cape)

“The Sorcerer of Hiva Oa (Marquesan Man in the Red Cape)” is an oil on canvas artwork created by French Post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin in 1902, during his time in French Polynesia. It belongs to the portrait genre within the Post-Impressionism movement, which was characterized by bold colors, distinct brush strokes, and a departure from the precise realism of earlier European painting.

The artwork presents a vibrant scene dominated by a figure dressed in a bright red cape at the center. This central figure is depicted with pronounced facial features, standing upright and gazing directly at the viewer, conveying a strong presence. To the left, there are two females huddled close together, one comforting the other, with soft, sympathetic expressions. The background is lush with tropical foliage and hints of water, imbuing the scene with a sense of exotic location and tranquility. A curious addition is the fantastical creature, reminiscent of an orange-colored dog with a human face, that appears to be sleeping or lying prostrate near the central figure’s feet, introducing an element of the mythic or supernatural into the composition. Gauguin’s signature and the date are visible at the bottom left of the canvas.

This artwork reflects Gauguin’s interest in the people, landscape, and spiritual life of the places he visited, and his style blends the real with the symbolic, often leading to interpretations that delve into the existential and spiritual realms.

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