Still Life with Profile of Laval (1886) by Paul Gauguin

Still Life with Profile of Laval - Paul Gauguin - 1886

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Artwork Information

TitleStill Life with Profile of Laval
ArtistPaul Gauguin
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions46 x 38 cm
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationIndianapolis Museum of Art (IMA), Indianapolis, IN, US
Location Created France

About Still Life with Profile of Laval

“Still Life with Profile of Laval,” created by Paul Gauguin in 1886, is an oil on canvas that exemplifies Post-Impressionist artistry. Its dimensions are 46 x 38 cm, and the artwork explores the genre of still life. Conceived in France, the piece is part of the collection at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States.

The artwork presents a striking juxtaposition of a profile portrait and a still life composition. Gauguin has masterfully used vivid colors and bold outlines to differentiate between the still life elements in the foreground and the profile in the background. The still life is composed of fruit, specifically what appears to be apples and a single lemon or green apple, artfully arranged on a draped cloth. This assembly of objects is dominated by rich, warm colors, and a sense of volume is created through the use of light and shadow, emphasizing the tactile qualities of the fruit and the tactile nature of the rendering.

Flanking these items of produce is a sculpted vase with an intricate design, adding an element of the exotic and artsy to the composition. The profile, likely of fellow artist Charles Laval, occupies the upper right quadrant of the canvas and is rendered with attention to the nuances of facial features and hair texture. The depiction of the figure is rendered with a contrast of dark tones against the lighter background, bringing forward the intensity of the figure’s gaze and his apparent absorption in the scene before him. Gauguin’s choice of brushwork and unconventional color palette reflects the Post-Impressionist movement’s interest in moving beyond naturalistic depictions to convey emotional resonance and artistic innovation.

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