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

Tropical Vegetation, Martinique

Oil on canvas, 116 x 89 cm
National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

Gauguin and Charles Laval journeyed to Panama in April 1887 and stayed there for a few weeks before going to Martinique, where this landscape was produced. The view is of the bay of Saint-Pierre, with the volcanic Mount Pelée in the background. He had painted very few pure landscapes since his Impressionist days and this is an unusual work in Gauguin's oeuvre. This suggests that he was conjuring up a vision of a tropical paradise unsullied by any human contact, and in search of which he was later to travel to Tahiti. The regular patterning of the brushstrokes which unify the picture surface and which contribute to a flattening effect, coupled with the absence of any aerial perspective and the saturated jewel-like colours, owe a great deal to the work of Cézanne, which continued to influence Gauguin at this time.

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