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Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?, 1897–1898

 
 
 
 
 
Details     Description
   
Artist Gauguin, Eugène Henri Paul

In December, 1897, Gauguin had felt unable to stand any longer the life of intermittent sickness and increasing debts he was leading in Tahiti. He resolved to kill himself, but before doing so he decided to draw upon all his remaining strength to paint a last important composition. He has told in great detail the story of this work:
“Before I died I wished to paint a large canvas that I had in mind , and I worked day and night that whole month in incredible fever. Of course it is not done like a Puvis de Chavannes: studies after nature, then preparatory sketches, etc. It is all done from imagination, straight from the brush on a coarse sackcloth full of knots, and the appearance is terribly rough… I am looking at it all the time and (I’ll admit) I admire it. The more I look at it, the more I realize its enormous mathematical faults, but I would not retouch them for anything. The painting must remain as it is – merely a sketch, of one wishes.”

 
Date

1897–1898

 
Institution Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
   
Medium Oil on canvas
 
Dimensions 139.1 x 374.6 cm
 
 
 
 

 

 

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