GAUGUIN, Paul
(b. 1848, Paris, d. 1903, Atuona, Hiva Oa, French Polynesia)

The Garden in Winter, Rue Carcel

1883
Oil on canvas, 117 x 90 cm
Private collection

By 1883, and as a direct result of the collapse of the stock market the previous year, Gauguin's finances were in disarray, and he began to consider a change in career. This painting demonstrates an attempt to align himself with the landscape Impressionist painters, perhaps from a desire to make money from the sale of his works, and is in marked contrast to the more laboured works produced while he could still consider himself an amateur.

The subject of a snowy landscape was a typical Impressionist device to enable the artist to study the effects of colour reflections on a white surface and was particularly favoured by Sisley. However, the handling in the sky and the foliage is more reminiscent of the work of Monet from this period. The spontaneity of the brushwork and the subject matter would suggest that the canvas was painted out of doors, but there is a small related sketch without the two foreground figures, probably done in front of the motif, which presumably forms the basis for this more finished, studio painting. This means that the two women were added later, and demonstrates that even at this date Gauguin did not feel tied to working solely from nature, and had already begun to use the subject of two conversing women which was to recur in his mature work.




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