Washerwomen at Pont-Aven (1886; Pont-aven, France) by Paul Gauguin

Washerwomen at Pont-Aven - Paul Gauguin - 1886; Pont-aven, France

Artwork Information

TitleWasherwomen at Pont-Aven
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1886; Pont-aven, France
Dimensions71 x 90 cm
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationMusée d'Orsay, Paris, France

About Washerwomen at Pont-Aven

The artwork “Washerwomen at Pont-Aven” was created by Paul Gauguin in 1886 in Pont-Aven, France. This oil on canvas painting measures 71 x 90 cm and belongs to the Post-Impressionism movement. Characteristic of the landscape genre, it currently resides in the Musée d’Orsay, located in Paris, France.

Depicting a serene setting, the artwork captures the essence of rural life in Pont-Aven with a naturalistic yet stylistically unique approach that is typical of Gauguin’s work during this period. In the foreground, washerwomen are seen attending to their laundry by the river’s edge—a common scene embodying the simplicity of the daily life of villagers. The river itself meanders gently through the composition, reflecting the light and colors of the surrounding environment with dappled effects created by Gauguin’s brushwork.

The cottages, partially obscured by trees and shrubbery, anchor the scene and give a sense of domestic presence amidst the natural surroundings. Lush greenery is interspersed with the architectural features, harmonizing man-made and natural elements. In the background, a sailboat glides along the river, adding a dynamic element to an otherwise tranquil landscape. The painting’s palette is full of earthy tones, contrasting with the brighter spots of color, and holds a sense of depth and texture that invites contemplation. Gauguin’s style here uses loose brushstrokes that are somewhat reminiscent of Impressionism but also hints at his later, more symbolic and synthetist works.

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