Paul Gauguin (French, 1848-1903)
oil on fabric, Framed: 123.83 x 106.00 x 6.98 cm (48 3/4 x 41 11/16 x 2 11/16 inches); Unframed: 92.50 x 72.40 cm (36 3/8 x 28 1/2 inches). Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William Powell Jones 1978.63
Painted at Pont-Aven in northwest France, this depiction of a nude figure throwing herself into the sea suggests a metaphor for a modern European woman forsaking civilization and abandoning herself to her natural, primitive instincts. The simplified lines and exaggerated colors, especially the contrasting green and orange, seem invented rather than observed from life. Exhibiting the painting at the Café Volpini in Paris in 1889, Gauguin established himself as a leader of the Symbolist movement in art.