Mountains in Tahiti
If one were to set Paul Gauguin’s paintings originating from his first Tahitian Duration side by side, it would be possible to track the artist’s growing affection to numerous elements of life in his brand-new home. As it is wont to occur, the natural beauty caused the very first influence on the artist, and through the remainder of his artistic profession, he would typically return to the subject, producing a series of homonymous paintings, which are now spread around a few of the best contemporary art museums.
Painted in 1891, within the very first year of his arrival to Tahiti, this oil on canvas, which is now in the ownership of the Minneapolis Institute of Art, showcases the very first effect of the Polynesian islands on Gauguin’s creative profession. In it, he depicts his initial awe at the lavish environment that got him, with intense colors and the artist’s particular Post-Impressionist style, developing a plain and simple, yet greatly emotional snapshot of what it was like for the 19th century European to get to those tropical islands.
Gauguin’s already growing disenchantment heightened such effect with the European art scene, and the pureness, natural and human, discovered by the artist in the islands was the definitive blow to his desire to ever return to France. He had felt that the art scene in Europe had become extremely superficial, artificial, and, as a whole, morally bankrupt. In a number of his letters and texts, he would discuss how he felt that art had ended up being too worried about cash and fame, ignoring the real goals of making art, which was an expression and casting a much deeper check out the nature of the world and the self.
So, in contrast with how Gauguin felt about the European art scene and aesthetic perceptiveness, he painted this landscape with its sinuous lines and bold, extreme colors to represent the joyous calmness afforded by the environment that surrounded him. He illustrates an untroubled landscape, its purity unsusceptible to the influence of civilization. The only human presence in the painting is itself adapted to the environment, in the form of the man bring packages of fruit along with a track that hardly differentiates itself from the field which it cuts through.
In a manner, Gauguin depicts humankind as small in the environment as he felt when faced with the splendor and secret he found in Tahiti.