Women at the riverside (1892; French Polynesia) by Paul Gauguin

Women at the riverside - Paul Gauguin - 1892; French Polynesia

Artwork Information

TitleWomen at the riverside
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1892; French Polynesia
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationVan Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

About Women at the riverside

The artwork “Women at the riverside” by Paul Gauguin is a genre painting that was created in 1892 during his time in French Polynesia. This Post-Impressionist work, crafted in oil on canvas, encapsulates Gauguin’s distinctive approach to color and form. Currently housed at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the piece is a testament to Gauguin’s exploration of the lives and environments of the people he encountered in the South Seas.

The artwork provides a vivid and stylized portrayal of a tropical landscape, with a focus on figures by the riverside. The color palette is rich and warm, comprising bold and expressive hues that suggest an exotic climate and lush vegetation. The scene captures women engaged in activities near water, potentially reflecting their daily life and the centrality of the river to their community. There is an almost dreamlike quality to the composition, with the environment and figures simplified and abstracted in a way that emphasizes emotional over realistic representation—a hallmark of Gauguin’s avant-garde aesthetic and his divergence from naturalistic depictions. The flat planes of color and the organic shapes create a rhythmic pattern that underlines the harmony between the inhabitants and the natural world in Gauguin’s view.

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