Oil on fabric
Framed: 92.4 x 112.7 x 6.4 cm (36 3/8 x 44 3/8 x 2 1/2 in.); Unframed: 74 x 92.8 cm (29 1/8 x 36 9/16 in.)
Gift of Barbara Ginn Griesinger 1975.263
Gauguin positions four women in a friezelike sequence seeking shelter under the dark green leaves of a large tree while the leaves of the second tree add a decorative pattern to the pink thatched roof. With his brush, he captures contrasting elements of the tropical climate, sending the viewer into the cool shade to escape the hot sun.
Disgusted with the materialism of European society, Gauguin abandoned his family and career as a stockbroker and departed for Tahiti in 1891. This canvas is among the first paintings he completed on the island. Its rich colors and stylized figures were intended to be both symbolic and mysterious, evoking private thoughts and emotions. “I obtain symphonies,” he wrote, “harmonies that represent nothing real in the absolute sense of the word.”
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