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

Still-Life with Three Puppies

Oil on wood, 92 x 63 cm
Museum of Modern Art, New York

In 1888, Gauguin returned to France from Martinique. He stayed a second time at Pont-Aven, where a new and decisive meeting with Émile Bernard brought forward a new doctrine about painting. He broke away from Impressionism and applied the cloisonnism which he developed together with Bernard.

The attempt at a contrived 'primitive' quality which Gauguin developed in Brittany, is particularly marked in this painting. The cloisonne effect of The Vision of the Sermon is developed, so that objects are outlined and strangely isolated against the backdrop of the tablecloth. The influence of Japanese art is particularly evident, and the composition may have been based on a print by Kuniyoshi. Added to the high viewpoint, and with the suppression of any tonal modelling, the two-dimensional surface of the picture space is exploited. In addition, the self-conscious naivety of the subject is enhanced by the grouping of objects into threes.

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