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10 female images in the paintings of the absinthe lover Paul Gauguin
10 female images in the paintings of the absinthe lover Paul Gauguin
Paul Gauguin

On May 8, 1903, Eugene Henri Paul Gauguin died of syphilis on the island of Hiva Oa in French Polynesia at the age of 54. A father who was forgotten by his own children, a writer who became the laughing stock of Parisian journalists, an artist ridiculed by his contemporaries, he could not even imagine that after his death his paintings would cost tens of thousands of dollars. In our review of 10 paintings by the great artist, which depict Tahitian women who gave Gauguin love, joy and inspiration.

1. Tahitian women on the coast (1891)

Tahitian women on the coast. 1891 year. Paris. D'Orsay Museum

In Tahiti, Paul Gauguin painted more than 50 paintings, his best paintings. Women were a special theme for the temperamental painter. And women in comparison with prim Europe in Tahiti were special. The French writer Defontaine wrote: "".

2. Parau Parau - Conversation (1891)

Parau Parau - Conversation. 1891. St. Petersburg. State Hermitage

On this picture, the hand of Gauguin himself made an inscription, which is translated from the language of the islanders as "gossip." The women sit in a circle and are engaged in conversation, but the everydayness of the plot of the picture does not deprive it of its mystery. This picture is not so much a somewhat concrete reality as an image of the eternal world, and the exotic nature of Tahiti is just an organic part of this world.

Gauguin himself became an organic part of this world - he did not worry about women, did not fall in love and did not demand from local ladies what they could not give him initially. After parting with his beloved wife, who remained in Europe, he consoled himself with bodily love. Fortunately, Tahitian women gave love to any unmarried man, it was enough just to point a finger at the young lady you liked and pay her “guardian”.

3. Her name is Vairaumati (1892)

Her name is Vairaumati. 1892. Moscow. State Museum of Fine Arts. A.S. Pushkin

And yet in Tahiti, Gauguin was happy. He was especially inspired to work when 16-year-old Tehura settled in his hut. For a swarthy girl with wavy hair, her parents took very little from Gauguin. Now at night in Gauguin's hut a night light smoldered - Tehura was afraid of ghosts waiting in the wings. Every morning Paul brought water from the well, watered the garden, and stood at the easel. Gauguin was ready to live this way forever.

Once Tehura told the artist about the secret society of Areoi, which enjoyed a special influence on the islands and considered themselves adherents of the god Oro. When Gauguin found out about them, he got the idea to paint a picture about the god Oro. The artist called the painting "Her name is Vairaumati".

In the picture, Vairaumati herself is depicted sitting on a bed of love, and at her feet there are fresh fruits for her lover. Behind Vairaumati in a red loincloth is the god Oro himself. Two idols are visible in the depths of the canvas. The entire Tahitian landscape invented by Gauguin is intended to personify love.

4. Manao Tupapau - The Spirit of the Dead Awake (1892)

Manao Tupapau - The Spirit of the Dead Awake 1892. Buffalo. Albright Knox Art Gallery

The title of the painting "Manao Tupapau" has two meanings - "she thinks about a ghost" and "a ghost thinks about her." The reason for painting a picture was given to Gauguin by the everyday situation. He left on business in Papeete, and returned home only late at night. The house was shrouded in darkness because the lamp had run out of oil. When Paul lit a match, he saw that Tehura was trembling with horror, clinging to the bed. All the natives were afraid of ghosts, and therefore they did not extinguish the lights in the huts at night.

Gauguin entered this story into his notebook and finished prosaically: "In general, this is just a nude from Polynesia."

5. The King's Wife (1896)

The king's wife. 1896. St. Petersburg. State Hermitage

Gauguin painted the painting "The King's Wife" during his second stay in Tahiti.The Tahitian beauty with a red fan behind her head, which is a sign of the royal family, brings to mind the "Olympia" by Edouard Manet and "Venus of Urbino" by Titian. The beast creeping along the slope symbolizes female mystery. But the most important thing, in the opinion of the artist himself, is the color of the painting. “… It seems to me that by color I have never created a single thing with such a strong solemn sonority,” Gauguin wrote to one of his friends.

6. Ea haere ia oe - Where are you going? (A woman holding a fetus). (1893)

Ea haere ea oe - Where are you going? (A woman holding a fetus). 1893 Saint Petersburg. State Hermitage

Gauguin was brought to Polynesia by the romantic dream of complete harmony - into a mysterious, exotic world and not completely unlike Europe. He saw the embodiment of the eternal rhythm of life in the bright colors of Oceania, and the islanders themselves were a source of inspiration for him.

The name of the painting from the language of the Maori tribe translates as the greeting "Where are you going?" The most seemingly simple motive has acquired an almost ritual solemnity. The pumpkin (as the islanders carried water) in the painting became a symbol of the Tahitian paradise. The peculiarity of this picture is the feeling of sunlight, which materializes in the dark body of a Tahitian woman, who is depicted in a red-fiery pareo.

7. Te avae no Maria - Month of Mary (1899)

Te avae no Maria - Month of Mary. 1899. St. Petersburg. State Hermitage

The painting, the main theme of which was the flowering of spring nature, was painted by Gauguin in the last years of his life, which he spent in Tahiti. The name of the painting - Month of Mary - is due to the fact that in the Catholic Church all May services were associated with the cult of the Virgin Mary.

The whole picture is imbued with the artist's impressions of the exotic world into which he plunged. The pose of the woman in the painting resembles a sculpture from a temple on the island of Java. She is wearing a white robe, considered a symbol of purity by both the Tahitians and Christians. The artist in this picture combined various religions, creating an image of primordiality.

8. Women by the sea (motherhood) (1899)

Women by the sea (motherhood). 1899. St. Petersburg. State Hermitage

The painting created by Gauguin in the last years of his life testifies to the artist's complete departure from European civilization. This painting is inspired by real events - Pahura, the artist's Tahitian lover, gave birth to his son in 1899.

9. Three Tahitian women on a yellow background. (1899)

Three Tahitian women on a yellow background. 1899 St. Petersburg. State Hermitage

Another of the artist's last works is Three Tahitian Women on a Yellow Background. It is full of cryptic symbols that cannot always be deciphered. It is not excluded that the artist put some kind of symbolic background into this work. But at the same time, the canvas is decorative: complete harmony of rhythmic lines and color spots, plasticity and grace in women's poses. In this picture, the artist depicted the world with that natural harmony that civilized Europe has lost.

10. "Nafea Faa Ipoipo" ("When will you marry?") (1892)

"When are you getting married?" 1892 g

At the beginning of 2015, Paul Gauguin's painting "Nafea Faa Ipoipo" ("When will you get married?") Became the most expensive painting - it was auctioned for $ 300 million. The canvas, which belonged to the Swiss collector Rudolf Stechelin, dates back to 1892. He confirmed the fact of the sale of the masterpiece, he did not announce the amount of the transaction. The media managed to find out that the painting was bought by the organization Qatar Museums, which buys works of art for museums in Qatar.

Especially for connoisseurs of painting and for those who are just getting acquainted with world masterpieces, 500-year history of male self-portrait in less than 5 minutes.

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