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Pastorales Tahitiennes, 1892

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Artist Gauguin, Eugène Henri Paul

This painting occupies a special place among the pictures of the first Tahitian period, as Gauguin was consistently attracted to the idea of a synthesis between painting and music. In Tahitian Pastoral Scene, the musical theme is not only included in the plot of the painting but is used as a symbol—music reigns generally over everything living and particularly over animals. The musical theme determines the refined rhythm of linear lines in the painting, its overall solemn key. and the generalization of the background landscape, and justifies the artist "s desire to saturate the canvas with color. In a letter to his friend Daniel de Monfreid (December 1892). Gauguin wrote: "I have just finished three canvases. . . . They seem to be the best, and as the first of January will be in a few days. I am going to date one of them, the best one. 1893. As an exception I gave it a French name. Tahitian Pastoral Scene, as I could not find an appropriate word in the language of the Kanaka. Don't know why (everything is covered with pure green Veronese and similar cinnabar) it seems to me that this is an antique Holland painting or an old tapestry. How can this be explained".' Anyway, all my canvases look faded."

A smaller painting called Arearea (D'Orsay Museum. Paris) may be considered to be a version of Tahitian Pastoral Scene, also painted in 1892. although earlier in the year. The landscape background of this earlier work is almost identical to that of the Hermitage canvas.


Inscribed, signed, and dated, bottom right: Pastorales tahitiennes 1893 Paul Gauguin

Hermitage Museum, inv. no. 9119



Vente Gauguin. February 18. 1895. cat. no. 5 (bought for 480 francs); Bernheim-Jeune Gallery. Paris; A. Vollard Gallery. Paris;

1908. I. Morozov collection. Moscow;

1919. Second Museum of Modem Western Painting. Moscow;

1923. Museum of Modem Western Art. Moscow;

since 1948. Hermitage. Leningrad.



Institution Hermitage Museum
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 86 x 113 cm













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