"I am trying to put into these desolate figures the savagery that I see in them and which is in me too... Dammit, I want to consult nature as well but I don't want to leave out what I see there and what comes into my mind."
Paul Gauguin is one of the most significant French artists to be initially schooled in Impressionism, but who broke away from its fascination with the everyday world to pioneer a new style of painting broadly referred to as Symbolism. As the Impressionist movement was culminating in the late 1880s, Gauguin experimented with new color theories and semi-decorative approaches to painting. He famously worked one summer in an intensely colorful style alongside Vincent Van Gogh in the south of France, before turning his back entirely on Western society. He had already abandoned a former life as a stockbroker by the time he began traveling regularly to the south Pacific in the early 1890s, where he developed a new style that married everyday observation with mystical symbolism, a style strongly influenced by the popular, so-called "primitive" arts of Africa, Asia, and French Polynesia. Gauguin's rejection of his European family, society, and the Paris art world for a life apart, in the land of the "Other," has come to serve as a romantic example of the artist-as-wandering-mystic.
After mastering Impressionist methods for depicting the optical experience of nature, Gauguin studied religious communities in rural Brittany and various landscapes in the Caribbean, while also educating himself in the latest French ideas on the subject of painting and color theory (the latter much influenced by recent scientific study into the various, unstable processes of visual perception). This background contributed to Gauguin's gradual development of a new kind of "synthetic" painting, one that functions as a symbolic, rather than a merely documentary, or mirror-like, reflection of reality.
Seeking the kind of direct relationship to the natural world that he witnessed in various communities of French Polynesia and other non-western cultures, Gauguin treated his painting as a philosophical meditation on the ultimate meaning of human existence, as well as the possibility of religious fulfillment and answers on how to live closer to nature.
Gauguin was one of the key participants during the last decades of the 19th century in a European cultural movement that has since come to be referred to as Primitivism. The term denotes the Western fascination for less industrially-developed cultures, and the romantic notion that non-Western people might be more genuinely spiritual, or closer in touch with elemental forces of the cosmos, than their comparatively "artificial" European and American counterparts.
Once he had virtually abandoned his wife, his four children, and the entire art world of Europe, Gauguin's name and work became synonymous, as they remain to this day, with the idea of ultimate artistic freedom, or the complete liberation of the creative individual from one's original cultural moorings.
Most Important Art
Paul Gauguin Artworks in Focus:
Manao Tupapau (The Spirit of the Dead Keeps Watch) (1892)
One of Gauguin's most famous works, Manao Tupapau is an excellent example of how Gauguin relished combining the ordinary with suggestions of the extraordinary in a single canvas, thus leaving all final interpretation open to debate. As he relates in a period diary, the actual scenario was inspired by his return home late one night and finding his wife, depicted here naked in the tropical heat, suddenly startled by his strike of a match in the all-enveloping darkness. Gauguin captures the luminous, unreal look of the sub-equatorial interior, here decorated by floral textiles, or batiks, along with other earthy materials, all suddenly illuminated by a momentary chemical combustion. At the same time, Gauguin introduces a ghostly depiction of a "watching" female spirit, seemingly harmless, at the foot of the bed, a direct reference to a local folklore describing how such spirits roam the night and forever share the world of the living.
Paul Gauguin Overview Continues Below
Paul Gauguin was born to Clovis Gauguin, a journalist, and Alina Maria Chazal, daughter of the socialist leader and early feminist activist Flora Tristan. At the age of three, Gauguin and his family fled Paris for Lima, Peru, a move motivated by France's tenuous political climate that prohibited freedom of the press. On the trans-Atlantic journey, Clovis fell ill and died. For the next four years, Gauguin, his sister, and mother lived with extended relatives in Lima.
In 1855, as France entered upon a more politically stable era, the surviving family returned to settle in the north-central French city of Orleans, where they lived with Gauguin's grandfather. There, Gauguin began his formal education and eventually joined the merchant marine (compulsory service) at age seventeen. Three years later Gauguin joined the French Navy. Returning to Paris in 1872, Gauguin took up work as a stockbroker.
Following his mother's death in 1867, Gauguin went to live with his appointed guardian, Gustave Arosa, a wealthy art patron and collector. Under Arosa's care, Gauguin was introduced to the work of the Romantic painter, Eugene Delacroix, as well as the work of Realist painter Gustave Courbet, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, and the pre-Impressionist, Barbizon school of French landscape painting. This education of the artist's eye in the work of his close predecessors was to have a lasting effect on Gauguin's later work.
Gauguin married Mette-Sophie Gad in 1873; subsequently, Gauguin, his Danish wife, and their five children moved from Paris to Copenhagen. Gauguin also began to collect art, procuring a modest array of Impressionist paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, and Camille Pissarro. By 1880 Gauguin was himself painting in his spare time and employing an Impressionist style, as in his Still-Life with Fruit and Lemons (1880). Gauguin also took to frequently visiting galleries, and eventually he rented his own artist's studio. In addition, Gauguin painted beside newly befriended artists Camille Pissarro and Paul Cézanne, and he himself participated in the official Impressionist exhibitions in Paris of 1881 and 1882.
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Gauguin lost his job as a stockbroker in the financial crash of 1882; by 1885 he was seeking a new means of making a living. Plagued by bouts of depression, Gauguin finally decided to pursue his painting as an alternate career path. He returned to Paris determined to make a professional go of it, indeed, despite the fact that up to that time he entirely lacked formal artistic training. Meanwhile, Mette-Sophie and their children settled with extended family in Denmark. A several-month's stay in Brittany, at Pont-Aven, in mid 1886, proved a decisive turning point for Gauguin, who developed there a Symbolist style of painting in which flat, luminescent colors, like those of stained-glass windows, came to signify the local Breton peoples' natural and spiritual experience. During this trip and a subsequent sojourn in Brittany in 1889, Gauguin sought to achieve a new kind of "synthesis," or fusion of color, composition, and subject matter, not only from painting before a live model or landscape, such as in the manner of the Impressionists, but by bringing together numerous studies in a way that finally evoked the inner life of his subject over merely suggesting its outward appearance. In his Four Breton Girls (1886), for instance, naturalistic tones of landscape co-exist with larger expanses of pattern and color that begin to suggest a symbolic importance to the subject lying beyond what's immediately visible. Two years later, Gauguin sailed to Panama and, subsequently, Martinique, often living in a hut with friend and fellow artist Charles Laval. These travels to so-called primitive cultures; his observation of the natives in their own natural environment; and his own employment of a rich, vibrant palette would soon come to serve Gauguin as a foundation for an original artistic style.
By the late 1880s, Gauguin's work caught the attention of Vincent van Gogh, another young and gifted painter who, like Gauguin, frequently suffered from bouts of depression. Similarly to Gauguin's, van Gogh's painting - while distinctly Impressionistic - showed the potential to blossom into something entirely new. The two artists began a regular correspondence, during which they exchanged paintings, including self-portraits, among them Gauguin's Self-Portrait 'Les Miserables' (1888). In 1888, at van Gogh's invitation, the two men lived and worked together for nine weeks in van Gogh's rented house at Arles in the south of France. Van Gogh's brother and benefactor, Theo van Gogh, an art dealer by profession, served as Gauguin's primary business manager and artistic confident at the time.
During these nine weeks, both artists turned out an impressive number of canvases, among Gauguin's his now-famous Night Café at Arles (Mme Ginoux) and a signature early work, Vision After the Sermon (Jacob's Fight with the Angel) (both 1888). Neither man had a particularly promising reputation in the art world at this moment; rather, both were regarded as highly experimental painters searching for a new style that might depart from the mature Impressionism of Monet, Renoir, and Pissarro. The intensity of the artistic exchange would come to a dramatic conclusion as, by the end of nine weeks, van Gogh's depressive and occasionally violent emotional episodes led to the dissolution of their artistic partnership, although the two would forever admire each other's work.
Gauguin returned to Paris, but only briefly. By now completely uninterested with Impressionism and what had, by that time come to be referred to as Post-Impressionism, Gauguin focused on further developing his Symbolist flat application of paint and bold palette as in his painting The Yellow Christ (1889), a work largely influenced by Japanese prints, African folk art, and popular imagery imprinted on Gauguin's memory from his travels to South America and the French East Indies (today's Caribbean).
In 1891, after spending years away from his wife and children, Gauguin effectively abandoned his family by moving alone, like a perpetual, solitary wanderer, to French Polynesia, where he would remain for the rest of his days. This move was the culmination of Gauguin's increasing desire to escape what he regarded as an artificial European culture for a life in a more "natural" condition.
In his final decade, Gauguin lived in Tahiti, and subsequently Punaauia, finally making his way to the Marquesas Islands. During this time he painted more traditional portraits, such as Tahitian Women on the Beach (1891), The Moon and the Earth (Hina tefatou) (1893), and Two Tahitian Women (1899). He also continued to experiment with quasi-religious and Symbolist subject matter, as in his Manao Tupapau (The Spirit of the Dead Keeps Watch) (1892), and his Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (1897). These works were painted during a period in which Gauguin was essentially bidding his career adieu, as if he were an athlete "at the top of his game," so to speak, but wanting to aspire towards a more spiritual condition. Seeking an unworldly sense of repose and detachment, he is said to have been obsessed with his own mortality. He looked back on his life and even borrowed figures from his own earlier paintings, perhaps as though to symbolically lend them an extended lifespan. Notably, by 1899 Gauguin was referring to himself satirically, writing to a Paris colleague that he painted only "on Sundays and holidays," ironically like the amateur he once embodied prior to pursuing art seriously. Not long after that self-deprecating quip, he unsuccessfully attempted suicide by self-poisoning.
In early May, 1903, morally skittish, and weakened by drug-addiction and regular bouts with illness, Gauguin succumbed to the degenerative effects of syphilis and died at the age of 54, in the Marquesas islands, where he was subsequently buried.
Gauguin's naturalistic forms and "primitive" subject matter would embolden an entire, younger generation of painters to move decisively away from late Impressionism and pursue more abstract, or poetically inclined subjects, some inspired by French Symbolist poetry, others derived from myth, ancient history, and non-Western cultural traditions for motifs with which they might refer to the more spiritual and supernatural aspects of human experience. Gauguin ultimately proved extremely influential to 20th-century modern art, in particular that of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque and their development of Cubism from about 1911 to 1915. Likewise, Gauguin's endorsement of bold color palettes would have a direct effect on the Fauvists, most notably André Derain and Henri Matisse, both of whom would frequently employ intensely resonant, emotionally expressive, and otherwise "un-realistic" color.
Gauguin, the man, became a legend almost independently of his art and came to inspire a number of literary works based on his "exotic" life story - a prime example being W. Somerset Maugham's The Moon and Sixpence (1919).
[possibly Ambroise Vollard, Paris, by 1909]; Alphonse Kann, Paris (by 1917; until 1918; one of twenty-eight works sold in April for 635,000 Danish kroners [this work valued at 100,000 Danish kroners] to Hansen); Wilhelm Hansen, Ordrupgaard, near Copenhagen (1918–23; acquired by him through a consortium consisting of Hansen, Herman Heilbuth, and their firm, Winkel and Magnussen; sold in February 1923 through Galerie Barbazanges, Paris, for Fr 100,000 to Matsukata); [baron] Kojiro Matsukata, Kobe (1923–d. 1950; his estate, 1950–54; sold November 2 through Fujikawa Galleries to Wildenstein); [Wildenstein, Paris and New York, 1954–55; sold January 24 to Haupt]; Mrs. Ira (Enid A.) Haupt, New York (1955–83; sold to Annenberg); her brother and his wife, Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, Rancho Mirage, Calif. (1983–93; jointly with MMA, 1993–his d. 2002)
Kunsthaus Zürich. "Französische Kunst des XIX. und XX. Jahrhunderts," October 5–November 14, 1917, no. 103 (as "Scène des îles Océaniques," lent by Coll. A[lphonse]. K[ann].).
Geneva. Musée d'Art et d'Histoire. "Exposition d'art français," May 15–June 16, 1918, no. 84 (as "Tahitiennes," probably this picture or MMA 1997.391.3) [see Fonsmark 2002].
San Francisco. California Palace of the Legion of Honor. "Inaugural Exposition of French Art in the California Palace of the Legion of Honor," 1924–25, no. 26 (as "South Sea Island [Women of Tahiti]," lent by a private collection).
New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Paintings from Private Collections," May 31–September 5, 1955, no. 44 (as "Siesta," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Ira Haupt).
New York. Wildenstein & Co., Inc. "Loan Exhibition: Gauguin," April 5–May 5, 1956, no. 38 (lent by Mr. and Mrs. Ira Haupt).
Art Institute of Chicago. "Gauguin: Paintings, Drawings, Prints, Sculpture," February 12–March 29, 1959, no. 50 (lent by Mr. and Mrs. Ira Haupt).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Gauguin: Paintings, Drawings, Prints, Sculpture," April 23–May 31, 1959, no. 50.
New York. Wildenstein & Co., Inc. "Masterpieces: A Memorial Exhibition for Adele R. Levy," April 6–May 7, 1961, no. 44.
New York. Guggenheim Museum. "Gauguin and the Decorative Style," June 23–October 23, 1966, unnumbered cat. (lent by Mrs. Enid A. Haupt).
Washington. National Gallery of Art. "The Art of Paul Gauguin," May 1–July 31, 1988, no. 128 (as "The Siesta," lent by Mr. Walter H. Annenberg).
Art Institute of Chicago. "The Art of Paul Gauguin," September 17–December 11, 1988, no. 128.
Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," May 21–September 17, 1989, unnumbered cat.
Washington. National Gallery of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," May 6–August 5, 1990, unnumbered cat.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," August 16–November 11, 1990, unnumbered cat.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," June 4–October 13, 1991, unnumbered cat.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Lure of the Exotic: Gauguin in New York Collections," June 18–October 20, 2002, no. 68.
THIS WORK MAY NOT BE LENT, BY TERMS OF ITS ACQUISITION BY THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART.
Marius-Ary Leblond. Peintres de Races. Brussels, 1909, ill. opp. p. 214, as "Dans la case".
Karl Madsen. Wilhelm Hansens Samling: Malerier, Akvareller, Pasteller, Tegninger af Franske Kunstnere. Copenhagen, 1918, p. 46, no. 131, ill. p. 44, as "Fra Sydhavsøerne" ("From the south sea islands").
Ernest Dumonthier. "Une grande collection d'oeuvres françaises modernes en Danemark: la collection Wilhelm Hansen." Revue de l'art ancien et moderne 42 (June-December 1922), p. 340, ill. p. 342, as "Souvenir des îles de la mer du sud".
Gustave Kahn. "Paul Gauguin." L'Art et les artistes 12 (October 1925–February 1926), ill. p. 61, as "Case à Tahiti".
Charles Kunstler. Gauguin: Peintre maudit. Paris, 1934, ill. p. 71, as "La sieste".
Maurice Malingue. Gauguin. Monaco, 1943, ill. p. 107.
Maurice Malingue. Gauguin: le peintre et son oeuvre. Paris, 1948, pl. 187.
Bernard Dorival, ed. Carnet de Tahiti.. By Paul Gauguin. facsimile of Gauguin's Carnet de Tahiti. Paris, 1954, vol. 1, pp. 19–20, 28, reproduces drawings (vol. 2, pp. 24V, 45V) of seated women seen from the back, which may relate to the principal foreground figure here.
Herbert Read. "Gauguin: Return to Symbolism." Art News Annual 25 (November 1955), p. 129, ill. in color on cover (detail) and pp. 130–31 (overall), dates it 1893.
Paintings from Private Collections. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1955, p. 31, no. 44, ill. p. 12, dates it 1893.
John Rewald. Post-Impressionism: From Van Gogh to Gauguin. 1st ed. New York, 1956, p. 532, ill. p. 533 (color) [3rd, rev. ed., p. 494, ill. p. 496 (color)], calls it "Siesta, Tahiti".
B. H. Friedman. "Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions." Burlington Magazine 98 (June 1956), p. 212.
Loan Exhibition: Gauguin. Exh. cat., Wildenstein & Co., Inc. New York, 1956, p. 18, no. 38, ill. p. 53.
John Rewald. Gauguin Drawings. New York, 1958, p. 28, under no. 37, states that a charcoal drawing, "Tahitian Girl Stretched Out" (about 1893; location unknown), from Gauguin's portfolio "Documents Tahiti-1891, 1892, 1893," is a study for this painting.
Henri Perruchot. Gauguin, Tahiti. Paris, 1958, unpaginated, colorpl. 10.
Paul Gauguin. Paul Gauguin's Intimate Journals. rev. ed. [1st ed., 1921]. Bloomington, Ind., 1958, ill. p. 81 [translation of Gauguin, "Avant et après," Leipzig, 1918].
Claus Virch and Samuel J. Wagstaff Jr. inGauguin: Paintings, Drawings, Prints, Sculpture. Exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 1959, p. 51, no. 50, ill., suggest that the use of converging floorboards to represent deep space was influenced by Japanese prints and Degas.
Bernard Dorival inGauguin. Paris, 1961, p. 86.
Georges Wildenstein. Gauguin. Vol. 1, French ed. [English ed. 1965]. Paris, 1964, pp. 210–11, no. 515, ill., dates it 1894; notes a figure similar to the one in the left background leaning on her right arm in "Arearea no varua ino" (1894; Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen; W514).
Georges Boudaille. Gauguin. New York, 1964, p. 179, ill. p. 176 (color).
Phoebe Pool. Gauguin. [London], 1966, p. 8, ill. and colorpls. X–XI.
Marilyn Hunt. Gauguin and the Decorative Style. Exh. cat.New York, 1966, unpaginated, ill. (color), compares it to Matisse's "Seated Odalisque" (1928; Baltimore Museum of Art).
Paul C. Nicholls. Gauguin. New York, 1967, pp. 12, 29–30, colorpl. 60, dates it 1894.
Françoise Cachin. Gauguin. Paris, 1968, pp. 221, 284 n. 158, p. 286, fig. 160 and ill. on back cover (color), dates it 1893, based on its similarities to "Two Tahitian Women on the Beach" (1891; Musée d'Orsay, Paris; W434).
Ronald Pickvance. The Drawings of Gauguin. London, 1970, p. 33, notes that poses and types that apppear in a sheet of watercolor and charcoal studies of Tahitian figures (1892; Musée du Louvre, Paris) recur in this painting.
G. M. Sugana. L'opera completa di Gauguin. 2nd ed. [1st ed., 1969; Engl. ed, 1973]. Milan, 1972, p. 107, no. 340, ill., dates it 1894.
Linnea Stonesifer Dietrich. "A Study of Symbolism in the Tahitian Painting of Paul Gauguin: 1891–1893." PhD diss., University of Delaware, 1973, pp. 142, 146–49, 210, dates it May–June 1892.
Richard S. Field. Paul Gauguin: Monotypes. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1973, pp. 25, 50 n. 53, p. 94, under no. 69, dates it summer 1892; considers the woman ironing in this painting to be the precursor of the one in the monotype "Tahitians Ironing" (about 1900; private collection, France).
Richard S. Field. Paul Gauguin: The Paintings of the First Voyage to Tahiti. PhD diss., Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. New York, 1977, pp. 136–41, 273–74, nn. 72, 74, pp. 327, 420, no. 36, based on preparatory sketches and stylistic grounds, states that it has been erroneously dated 1893 and dates it instead to May–June 1892.
Michel Hoog. Paul Gauguin: Life and Work. New York, 1987, pp. 241, 244, colorpl. 135, dates it 1893 in the text and 1894 in the caption; observes the similar composition of "Te Rerioa - The Dream" (1897; Courtauld Gallery, London; W557), calling it an example of Gauguin "returning to a motif after several years and and conferring on it a different, or even opposite, meaning".
Richard Brettell inThe Art of Paul Gauguin. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1988, pp. 232–33, no. 128, ill. (color), dates it 1891–92, based on the size 50 canvas, which was only used during Gauguin's first Tahitian trip; notes that the women wear missionary dresses and clothing made from English printed fabric; observes that the setting appears to be the side porch of a low, native house built in imitation of colonial dwellings, adding that similar verandas can be found in two Gauguin landscapes of 1891, "Street in Tahiti" (Toledo Museum of Art; W441) and "Les Porceaux Noirs" (Szépmüvészeti Múseum, Budapest; W446).
Françoise Cachin. Gauguin. Paris, 1988, pp. 155, 158, 244, colorpl. 164, states that it appears to date from the same period as "Femmes de Tahiti" of 1891 (Musée d'Orsay, Paris; W434).
Isabelle Cahn inGauguin: La Bibliothèque des expositions. Paris, 1988, pp. 72–73, no. 47, ill. (color).
Petra-Angelika Rohde. Paul Gauguin auf Tahiti: Ethnographische Wirklichkeit und künstlerische Utopie. PhD diss., Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg. Rheinfelden, Germany, 1988, pp. 112, 118–22, fig. 18, dates it 1892 or 1894.
Frédérique de Gravelaine. Paul Gauguin: la vie, la technique, l'oeuvre peint. Lausanne, 1988, p. 140.
Arthur C. Danto. "Paul Gauguin." Nation (June 11, 1988) [reprinted in Danto, "Encounters & Reflections: Art in the Historical Present," New York, 1991, p. 192].
Colin B. Bailey. "La Collection Annenberg." L'Oeil nos. 408–9 (July–August 1989), p. 46, colorpl. 8.
Günter Metken. Gauguin in Tahiti: Die erste Reise, Gemälde 1891–1893. Munich, 1989, unpaginated, colorpl. 37, compares the figures in this picture with those in Bonnard's 1910 paintings.
Françoise Cachin. Gauguin: "Ce malgré moi de sauvage". Paris, 1989, pp. 71, 73, ill. (color).
The Old Matsukata Collection: Occidental Art. Exh. cat., Kobe City Museum. Kobe, 1990, p. 196, no. 710, ill.
Joseph J. Rishel inMasterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection. Ed. Colin B. Bailey, Joseph J. Rishel, and Mark Rosenthal. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1991, pp. 92–93, 189–91, ill. (color and black and white), dates it 1892–94; notes that Gauguin owned postcards of frescoes by Giotto and the Italian primitives whose influence is apparent in the foreground figure in this picture; discusses numerous areas of repainting in this picture and the resulting changes in composition and color.
Gary Tinterow. "Miracle au Met." Connaissance des arts no. 472 (June 1991), pp. 39–40, ill. in color, dates it 1892–94; suggests that it was probably made when Gauguin returned to Europe.
Pierre-Francis Schneeberger. Gauguin – Tahiti. Paris, 1991, p. 43, colorpl. 23, dates it 1894.
Jérôme Coignard. "Le Salon de peinture de Mr. et Mrs. Annenberg." Beaux arts no. 92 (July–August 1991), pp. 70–71, ill. (color).
Bernard Denvir, ed. Paul Gauguin, The Search for Paradise: Letters from Brittany and the South Seas.. By Paul Gauguin. London, 1992, pp. 64–65, ill. (color), remarks that the painting is unfinished and dates it about 1891–92, adding that the traditional "pareus" made with Western fabric and the "newfangled" veranda suggest ways in which the colonial presence is changing the lives of the islanders.
Marianne Wirenfeldt Asmussen. Wilhelm Hansen's Original French Collection at Ordrupgaard. Copenhagen, 1993, pp. 50, 63, 77 n. 30, p. 372, no. 131, ill. pp. 22 (installation photo) and 373.
Karyn Elizabeth Esielonis. "Gauguin's Tahiti: The Politics of Exoticism." PhD diss., Harvard University, 1993, p. 30, fig. 10.
Gary Tinterow. "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1993–1994." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 52 (Fall 1994), p. 51, ill. (color), comments on the evolution of the composition; remarks that the size of the canvas may date the work to one of two periods: 1891–94 during Gauguin's first trip to Tahiti or 1894–95 when the artist was back in France.
Stephen F. Eisenman. Gauguin's Skirt. London, 1997, p. 112, ill., dates it 1891–92.
Anna Maria Damigella. Paul Gauguin, La vita e l'opera. Milan, 1997, pp. 141, 152, ill. (color).
Ira Berkow. "Jewels in the Desert." Art News 97 (May 1998), p. 147, ill. p. 144 (color, installation photo).
Colta Ives in Colta Ives and Susan Alyson Stein. The Lure of the Exotic: Gauguin in New York Collections. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2002, pp. 95, 222, no. 68, ill. (color), dates it probably 1891–92.
Anne-Birgitte Fonsmark inThe Age of Impressionism: European Paintings from Ordrupgaard Copenhagen. Ed. Thomas Lederballe and Rebecca Rabinow. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Copenhagen, 2002, p. 20.
Susan Alyson Stein in Colta Ives and Susan Alyson Stein. The Lure of the Exotic: Gauguin in New York Collections. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2002, p. 173.
Charlotte Hale in Colta Ives and Susan Alyson Stein. The Lure of the Exotic: Gauguin in New York Collections. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2002, pp. 189, 232 nn. 52, 55, dates it to Gauguin's first Tahitian trip.
Gary Tinterow. "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2002–2003." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 61 (Fall 2003), p. 35.
Paule Laudon. Tahiti—Gauguin: Mythe et vérités. Paris, 2003, pp. 75–76, ill. (color), dates it 1891.
Joseph J. Rishel inMasterpieces of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection. Ed. Susan Alyson Stein and Asher Ethan Miller. 4th rev. ed. [1st ed., 1989]. New York, 2009, pp. 172–77, no. 33, ill. (color).
Kathryn Calley Galitz. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings. New York, 2016, p. 451, no. 412, ill. pp. 412–13, 451 (color).