Landscape

Paysage

[Attributed to Paul Gauguin]

Amidst luxuriant equatorial plants and trees, a group of minute figures seem lost in the vegetation. In the background, a white house is hidden behind the trees. Three children walk along behind a man dressed in black who looks like a missionary priest. The work was in fact once entitled Le Curé et les enfants [The Priest and the Children].
This painting dated 1901 probably depicts a landscape on the Marquesan island of Hivaoa. It was probably painted just after Gauguin left Tahiti in September 1901 for the Marquesas Islands, where he died in 1903.
In these landscapes, Gauguin glorifies above all the beauty of a natural world that is as yet untamed, just as he did when he arrived in Martinique, Brittany and Tahiti.
The stylised forms, the composition with tiered planes annihilating the perspective, the modulated shades of green, achieved with the long hatched brushstrokes of the trees, and the meadow in the centre of the composition are all typical of Gauguin’s landscapes in his later years.

Provenance: H. Böhler, Vienne; Huinck et Scherjon, Amsterdam; Joseph von Sternberg; Domenica Walter