Paul Gauguin (1848–1903): Blue Trees. Your Turn Will Come, My Beauty!
Oil on jute sackcloth | 93 x 73 cm | 1888
The picture has a very distinctive composition and colouring for its time. Gauguin has divided the canvas into undulating surfaces indicated by a dark, searching contour line. The colours are complementary like orange and purple, and their juxtaposition has an intense effect. The perspective is unorthodox: the fields behind the trees almost cover the horizon and tilt like a flat surface out towards the observer. In particular the tall ornamental blue trees give the picture an alien feel that is typical of Gauguin’s work as a whole.
The strong symbolic charging of the landscape also colours the experience of the two almost hidden figures in the right-hand side of the picture. One senses a drama, but the story is played down and thus all the more suggestive.
In his early years Gauguin was influenced by Impressionism, but his work can first and foremost be called Symbolist. When he went to live on Tahiti in 1895 it was as part of a movement away from civilization towards a life based on a dream of Paradise and primitivism. A central characteristic of Gauguin is the questing, experimental nature of both his life and work.
Motifs: Portraits, still lifes, landscapes, pictures with motifs from Brittany and Tahitian motifs.
Read more about Gauguin at the Musée d’Orsay’s website.