When Will You Marry? (1892; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

When Will You Marry? - Paul Gauguin - 1892; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleWhen Will You Marry?
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1892; French Polynesia
Dimensions102 x 78 cm
Art MovementCloisonnism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About When Will You Marry?

The artwork titled “When Will You Marry?” was created by Paul Gauguin in 1892, during his time in French Polynesia. It is an oil painting on canvas that belongs to the art movement known as Cloisonnism, characterized by bold and flat forms separated by dark contours. The dimensions of the work are 102 by 78 centimeters, and it is considered a genre painting, depicting scenes of everyday life. The artwork is a part of a private collection.

In the artwork, Gauguin captures two Tahitian women against a vivid backdrop of a tropical landscape. The woman in the foreground is seated with her legs folded under her, adorned in a traditional Tahitian dress of bold red and yellow patterns. She looks directly at the viewer with an engaging and perhaps contemplative gaze. The second woman, positioned behind the first, is depicted standing and dressed in a pale pink garment with a white collar, her profile turned towards the distance. The intensity of her gaze and her stature lend her a dignified presence.

The landscape features Gauguin’s signature use of vibrant, contrasting colors and stylized natural elements. A muted yellow represents the ground, while the mountains and sky in the background are rendered in hues of purple and blue, suggesting a particular time of day or atmospheric condition. Between the foliage, we can see hints of traditional structures, providing a context for the presence of the women. A small figure of a person is noticeable in the background, although details are minimal, contributing to the ethereal and dream-like quality Gauguin often infused into his works.

The bold outlines and flat planes of color are indicative of the Cloisonnist style, which was influenced in part by the stained glass and Japanese prints that Gauguin admired. The artwork is notable for its blend of symbolic and post-impressionistic elements, as well as the way it reflects Gauguin’s romanticized perception of Tahitian culture and the complex narrative it implies concerning the native inhabitants’ lives and customs. The question posed in the title, “When Will You Marry?” adds an enigmatic layer, inviting viewers to ponder the social and cultural implications faced by these women, as well as the artist’s own intentions or reflections behind this creation.

Other Artwork from Paul Gauguin

More Cloisonnism Artwork

Scroll to Top