Sheet: 27 x 20.5 cm (10 5/8 x 8 1/16 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1991.158
Catalogue raisonné: G.57; M/K/J 42
In his quest to reconcile the Gospels of the New Testament with the spirit of modern science, Gauguin created 14 woodcuts that mix Christian and Polynesian imagery to create the visual equivalents of parables or fables. Here, Eve’s gesture of modesty recalls earlier representations of her expulsion from
the Garden of Eden, but the disembodied hooded head, the tupapau (a Tahitian evil spirit), and the
rat (the shadow of a ghost) are Polynesian symbols. Combining Eve, an image of guilt and violation, with Tahitian symbols of death increases the potency of the scene. This special impression of Eve is the only known example of the first state in which the black shape in the lower right is blank, before the block was changed; additional white lines appear on Eve and the rat.
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