Woman by the sea (1892; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

Woman by the sea - Paul Gauguin - 1892; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleWoman by the sea
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1892; French Polynesia
Dimensions92.5 x 74 cm
Art MovementCloisonnism
Current LocationMuseo Nacional de Bellas Artes (MNBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina

About Woman by the sea

The artwork “Woman by the Sea” is a notable painting by Paul Gauguin completed in 1892 during his time in French Polynesia. This oil on canvas painting employs the distinctive Cloisonnism style and measures 92.5 by 74 centimeters. As a genre, it is categorized as a nude painting (nu) and it currently resides in the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (MNBA) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The artwork depicts a nude female figure viewed from the back, sitting on a beach with the sea in the distance. The use of bold outlines and flat areas of color are characteristic of the Cloisonnism movement, which was inspired by stained glass and the Japanese woodblock prints. The sea is rendered with stylized waves that convey movement, while the use of contrasting colors enhances the visual impact of the scene. The figure’s warm-toned skin stands out against the cool blues of the sea and the sandy yellow of the beach, emphasizing the exotic atmosphere that Gauguin was known to evoke in his Tahitian paintings. This piece is a reflection of Gauguin’s exploration of the themes of exoticism and the primitive, questioning the European ideals of beauty and civilization and celebrating the perceived purity and simplicity of the life in Polynesia.

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