Landscape with Snow (1888)

Landscape with Snow (1888)
Painted in February of 1888, Van Gogh painted the dreary furrowed fields of winter. A lone figure with his dog trudge toward home. Located in the Guggenheim, I was moved to view this painting this past weekend.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Paul Gauguin

Happy Birthday Paul Gauguin!! One of my favorites, Paul Gauguin was born in France, in 1848 and began as an Impressionist painter. Although he was born in Paris, he spent some of his childhood in Peru, where his mother’s family was from. He also spent 6 years at sea from 1865-71. He was a contemporary and friend (even roommate at one time) of Vincent van Gogh. After a period of time in France, exhibiting with the Impressionists, Gauguin went to Tahiti and later the South Sea Islands, where he was to spend the rest of his life (with a trip or two back to France). A favorite topic for painting was island women and in fact I was privileged to see some of his work from Samoa on display in Auckland, New Zealand. Unlike the Impressionists, Gauguin worked in smooth, flat shapes, using bright symbolic colors. He was influenced by the patterns and shapes of his new life with primitive people, as well as Japanese prints. The painting Nevermore features a reclining nude, but with further inspection, the symbolic qualities are evident. Note the title in the upper corner with Poe’s raven sitting on the shelf. The island girl appears nervous with her eyes rolling toward the two women whispering in the background. All elements add up to a sinister feel to the painting. Thus we see Post-Impressionism merged with Symbolism to reveal Gauguin’s mature style.

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