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

Still-Life with Mandoline

Oil on canvas, 64 x 53 cm
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

The significance of this still-life seems to have been highly personal and it was probably painted either while Gauguin was still in Copenhagen with his wife's family or just after he arrived back in Paris with Clovis. The canvas in the background can be identified as one from his collection by the artist Armand Guillaumin, with whom Gauguin had painted in the summer of 1881. The mandoline was one of the possessions that he took on all his travels and the vase is very similar to those that Gauguin started to make the following year.

At the same time, the work is an exercise in formal arrangement, with the arabesques of the objects on the table being offset by the horizontals and verticals in the background. Similarly, he has chosen his colours with great care, contrasting the oranges in the peonies and in the landscape with the complementary blues of the wall and vase.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.