Fatata te Miti (By the Sea)
Fatata te Miti is an 1892 oil painting by French artist Paul Gauguin, located in the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, DC. Gauguin painted Fatata te miti in 1892 during his first trip to Tahiti, the same tree, dividing the painting into two distinct zones, can be seen in Parau na te Varua ino. The painting depicts two Tahitian women, seen from behind, jumping into the sea, there is a fisherman in the background, fishing with a spear. The painting epitomizes the romantic view of Tahitians made famous by Pierre Lotis Le Mariage de Loti, in that novel, Loti described his Tahitian brides pursuits as extremely simple, reverie, bathing, above all bathing. The women in the painting bathe naked, removing their pareos, the theme of nymphs frolicking in the waves was a tradition of the Golden Age repeatedly represented by artists such as Titian and Courbet through to Gauguins own contemporary Degas. Gauguin was fascinated by the theme, first taking it up in 1885 with his Women Bathing and he returned to it with his 1889 Ondine, his signature painting at the Volpini Exhibition. Gauguin uses intense tropical colors to convey sensual delight, for example, he uses pinks and purples for the sand, although in reality the beaches were a drab volcanic brown. The technique employed here of applying pure color in bold and flat shapes delineated by dark counters is one he developed in Brittany, to heighten the luminosity and enhance their jewellike effect, Gauguin applied a thin layer of clear wax to the surface of his early Tahitian paintings. The painting was owned by Chester Dale, who left his collection to the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Looking for a society more elemental and simple than that in France, Gauguin auctioned thirty of his paintings and this first visit lasted from 1891 to 1893. His book Noa Noa was written in the style of a journal and was originally meant to provide a context for his 1893 Paris exhibition. Gauguin first used the words Noa Noa reporting the words the Tahitians themselves used for the scent of Tahitian women, the substantive Fenua is understood in the title of his book, so the correct translation is The Fragrant Isle. Also implied is the Tahitian term for Paradise - Rohutu noanoa, in the event his book remained unpublished until 1901, although extracts were published in La Revue Blanche in 1897. The first European exhibition of Gauguins work took place in March 1893 in Copenhagen, paintings from Gauguins first Tahitian period selected for his Copenhagen exhibition References Sources Danielsson, Bengt. New Haven, Connecticut, Yale University Press, ISBN 0-300-09109-5, Noa Noa, The Tahiti Journal of Paul Gauguin. In French Noa Noa, The Tahiti Journal of Paul Gauguin. in English
Spirit of the Dead Watching
Spirit of the Dead Watching is an 1892 oil on burlap canvas painting by Paul Gauguin, depicting a naked Tahitian girl lying on her stomach. An old woman is seated behind her, Gauguin said the title may refer to either the girl imagining the ghost, or the ghost imagining her. The subject of the painting is Gauguins young native wife Tehaamana, motionless, naked, belly down on the bed, she stared up at me, her eyes wide with fear. Perhaps she took me, with my face, for one of those legendary demons or specters. Art historian Nancy Mowll Mathews says the painting is a descendent of a previous series of frightened Eves that Gauguin painted from 1889. His 1889 Breton Eve, shown at the Volpini exhibition of 1889, represented Eve as in fear of the snake, in his letter of 8 December 1892 to his wife Mette, he says I painted a nude of a young girl. In this position she is on the verge of being indecent, but I want it that way, the lines and movement are interesting to me. And so, I give her, in depicting the head and he then needed to find a pretext for the girls emotions. At first Gauguin made the old woman the subject of her fright, rather, she suggests the girls fear was a response to Gauguins aggressive behavior, consistent with his known battering of his wife Mette, the submissive fear in her eyes his erotic reward. Stephen F. Eisenman, professor of Art History at Northwestern University, suggests the painting and its narrative is an encyclopaedia of colonial racism. Eisenmans book Gauguins Skirt challenges conventional notions of the political and gender content of Gauguins paintings, in Spirit he sees parallels not only with Manets Olympia, but also with the Louvre Hermaphrodite in the boyishness of the features and the a tergo posture. The androgynous depiction is in keeping with Polynesian cosmology and its stress on the nature of things. Other historians such as Naomi E. Maurer have viewed the narrative as a device to make the indecency of the more acceptable to a European audience. The painting appears in the background of another Gauguin painting, his Self-portrait with Hat, Gauguin was an admirer of Édouard Manets 1863 Olympia. The copy is not an especially faithful one and it is thought he completed it from a photograph, edgar Dégas later purchased it for 230 francs at Gauguins 1895 auction of his paintings to raise funds for his return to Tahiti. It is known that Gauguin took a photograph of Manets Olympia with him on his first visit to Tahiti, when Gauguin exhibited Spirit of the Dead Watching at his largely unsuccessful 1893 Durand-Ruel exhibition, several critics noted the compositional similarities with Olympia. Thadée Natanson, a founder of La Revue Blanche, called it the Olympia of Tahiti, while Alfred Jarry, more pointedly, Pollock notes a structural correspondence between the two paintings. Thus, by reference to Manets Olympia, Gaughin has reintroduced himself, taking his place in the avant-garde as artist, as owner
When Will You Marry?
When Will You Marry. is an oil painting from 1892 by the French Post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin. The painting was on exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler, Riehen, Gauguin travelled to Tahiti for the first time in 1891. His hope was to find a paradise where he could create pure, primitive art. Primitive culture had been wiped out, despite this, he painted many pictures of native women, nude, dressed in traditional Tahitian clothes, and dressed in Western-style dresses, as is the rear figure in When Will You Marry. The front and middle ground are built up in areas of green, yellow, a traditionally dressed young woman has settled on the threshold between the front and middle ground. Richard Field suggests the white tiare flower behind her left ear indicates she is seeking a husband, behind her a second figure in a high-necked Western-style dress sits erectly. Field thought her gesture derives from Buddhist art, naomi E. Maurer subsequently identified it as a mudra denoting threatening or warning. The front woman stretches herself, her facial features stylized and simplified, Field thought her pose had a Japanese precedent, Charles F. Stuckey suggests Delacroixs Women of Algiers. The rear female figure is flush with the yellow-blue area and her face is painted with individual features and represents the centre of the image. The pink colour of her dress is clearly distinct from the other colours, at the bottom right is the inscription NAFEA Faa ipoipo. Gauguin commonly inscribed his paintings in Tahitian at this time, he was fascinated by the language, Art historian Nancy Mowll Mathews wrote that Gauguin portrayed the natives as living only to sing and to make love. Thats how he got the money from his friends and raised the publics interest in his adventure, but, of course, he knew the truth, which was that Tahiti was an unremarkable island with an international, westernised community. Gauguin placed this painting on consignment at the exhibition at a price of 1,500 francs, the highest price he assigned and shared by one other painting. Staechelin eventually purchased it at the Maison Moos gallery in Geneva in 1917, post-Impressionism References Sources Field, Richard S. Paul Gauguin, The Paintings of the First Trip to Tahiti. The Pursuit of Spiritual Wisdom, The Thought and Art of Vincent van Gogh, media related to When Will You Marry. at Wikimedia Commons
The Concert Singer
The Concert Singer is a painting by Thomas Eakins, depicting the singer Weda Cook. The work, commenced in 1890 and completed in 1892, was Eakinss first full-length portrait of a woman and it is now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Concert Singer was one of a series of portraits Eakins painted of Philadelphia natives who were prominent in science and culture, the painting exemplifies Eakinss desire to truthfully record visual appearances with historical value. The work depicts Weda Cook, a respected Camden vocalist, recognized for her powerful contralto voice, unassuming manner, and thorough training. She stands center stage, wearing pink slippers and a low-necked sleeveless pink dress, Eakinss realism is notable in the painting of skin tones, with Cooks bare neck, chest, arms, and shoulders visibly paler than her head and hands. The figure is solidly and subtly modeled, its warm light pinks set against a cooler and darker yellow-green background, in the lower-left foreground, a conductors hand and baton are visible, although the rest of the figure is not pictured. Initially, as can be seen in the sketch, the hand grasped the baton as if it were a paint brush. For verisimilitude Eakins had Charles M. Schmitz, the conductor of the Germania Orchestra and Cooks teacher, inconsistencies in perspective add to the ambiguity. The lower part of the dress, shoes, and flowers are depicted as if seen from above, yet the visibility of the soles of the shoes and underside of the dress suggest a lower vantage point. The austerity of the marks a new and more abstract tendency in Eakinss work. In its design, cropping of details at the lower edges, in contrast, the Eakins painting reflects an American appreciation for singing as a manifestation of high culture. Unidealized, Weda Cooks figure is depicted as substantial and sensuous and it is revealed by a light that creates form, depth, and produces the paintings profoundly poetic mood. So, like many Eakins portraits, The Concert Singer had an element of daring in its composition, prior to painting The Concert Singer, Eakins made a small oil sketch, now also in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Although the sketch lacks the palm and roses, essential compositional modes are already in place, with emphasis on Cooks neck, the color of the dress, direction of light and it took Eakins nearly two years to paint The Concert Singer. Cook posed for him numerous times, three or four times a week for the first year, the opening bars of the aria are carved in the wooden frame of the painting. Eakins later wrote, I once painted a concert singer and on the chestnut frame I carved the opening bars of Mendelssohns Rest in the Lord and it was ornamental unobtrusive and to musicians I think it emphasized the expression of the face and pose of the figure. The Concert Singer has been interpreted as a tribute to the poet Walt Whitman, Eakins had met the poet in 1887, and completed a portrait of him the following year. Weda Cook had set some of Whitmans poems to music, O rest in the Lord was a particular favorite of the poet, who asked Cook to sing it for him every time they met