Tahitian Women Bathing

Paul Gauguin French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 955

Dreaming of a paradise where he could “listen to the silence of beautiful tropical nights,” Gauguin set off for Tahiti in June 1891. While at first Tahitian Women Bathing resembles the artist’s Polynesian paintings, it was not painted in oil on canvas, but rather in oil on paper, and was begun as a sheet of working drawings. The large sheet was later mounted on canvas, retouched, and varnished, presumably to ready the work for sale. The unusual evolution of this picture from a sheet of working drawings provides insight into the artist’s methodology as a draftsman and painter, and also accounts for its compositional disharmony.

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Tahitian Women Bathing, Paul Gauguin (French, Paris 1848–1903 Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands), Oil on paper, laid down on canvas

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