Whispered Words (1892; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

Whispered Words - Paul Gauguin - 1892; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleWhispered Words
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1892; French Polynesia
Art MovementCloisonnism
Current LocationYale University Art Gallery (Yale University), New Haven, CT, US

About Whispered Words

The artwork “Whispered Words,” created by the artist Paul Gauguin in 1892 during his time in French Polynesia, is an oil on canvas painting that forms part of the Cloisonnism art movement. Cloisonnism is known for its bold outlines and flat areas of color, influenced by stained glass and Japanese prints. This genre painting is housed at the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut, United States.

The artwork depicts a scene rich with the vibrant colors and light of French Polynesia. In the foreground, a central figure stands out, gazing directly at the viewer, holding what appears to be a fruit. This person is dressed in a blue garment adorned with white patterns, possibly a pareo, which is traditional attire in the region. Behind this figure, two individuals walk away in the midst of a lush landscape filled with a variety of flora, showcasing deep greens, reds, and earthy tones that create a dynamic and warm environment.

In the middle ground, under the shade of trees, a group of individuals is seated on the ground, engaged in conversation, their forms rendered in harmonious colors that blend with the surroundings, emphasizing a sense of unity and peaceful coexistence with nature. The background hints at a more structured setting with the presence of a building, which contrasts with the natural elements while still appearing to be seamlessly integrated into the scene.

Gauguin’s use of color and bold outlines epitomizes the Cloisonnism style, as he employs broad, flat areas of color delineated by dark contours. The relaxed postures of the figures and the tranquil setting convey a sense of daily life and intimacy within this tropical landscape, reflecting the artist’s fascination with the culture and environment he experienced while in French Polynesia.

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