Under the Pandanus (1891; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

Under the Pandanus - Paul Gauguin - 1891; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleUnder the Pandanus
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1891; French Polynesia
Dimensions67 x 90 cm
Art MovementCloisonnism
Current LocationDallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX, US

About Under the Pandanus

The artwork titled “Under the Pandanus” is a creation of the renowned artist Paul Gauguin, dating back to 1891 and originating from French Polynesia. Gauguin employed oil on canvas to express his vision in a piece that measures 67 by 90 centimeters and is currently housed at the Dallas Museum of Art in Dallas, Texas, United States. The painting exemplifies the Cloisonnism movement and falls under the genre painting category, capturing elements of everyday life.

In the artwork, an expressive and vivid portrayal of life in French Polynesia is evident. Two central figures dominate the scene; they are women clothed in traditional, brightly colored garments that suggest a local fashion. The woman on the left stands facing the viewer, holding an unidentified object in one hand, while the woman on the right is seen from the back, interacting with a wooden structure, possibly a house, as evidenced by the partial view of its thatched roof. Her other hand appears to hold a piece of cloth or vegetation. Between them, a small black dog stands amidst what seems to be flowing patterns on the ground, possibly representing the earth or stylized representations of water or vegetation.

In the background, there are more visual narratives complementing the scene: a third figure in the distance, possibly a man, engaged in an outdoor activity by the water’s edge; a canoe-like vessel nearby; and the tranquility of the water that leads to a distant horizon. The serene sky adds a sense of deep calm to the tableau. The painting is pervaded with natural elements such as the pandanus trees with their elongated leaves, lending their name to the painting. The contrast of light and shadow, flattened forms, and bold outlines are characteristic of Gauguin’s Cloisonnist style, which emphasizes the delineation of color fields.

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