Still Life with Head-Shaped Vase and Japanese Woodcut Paul Gauguin

Still Life with Head-Shaped Vase and Japanese Woodcut: Paul Gauguin

Still Life with Head-Shaped Vase and Japanese Woodcut is an 1889 painting in the Post-Impressionist style by the leading French artist Paul Gauguin. This work is located in the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Iran.

Analysis of Still Life with Head-Shaped Vase and Japanese Woodcut

In an interior which catches the eye for its combination of broad surfaces in pink and gold colour, Gaugin portrays, as the title tells us, a likely wooden low vase shaped with the profile of a human face on one side, a larger amorphous vase holding a multifarious ensemble of plants, and a picture on the wall behind them showing most likely a woman’s face in sketch form.

The picture is identified as a Japanese woodcut of the ukiyo-e genre, Gaugin being a prominent enthusiast of Japanese artefacts and particularly woodcuts. The artwork we espy in this picture contains a figure whose face and hair have been conspicuously left colourless, while her clothes and environment bear a pigment that is as vivid as the rest of this painting.

Gaugin has not adopted any distorting effects of perspective or chromatic interference, even though several leaves and flowers from the vases rise up to interpose between us and the picture on the wall. The creation of this painting coincides with Gaugin’s intense experimentation with the hybrid art form of drawings and oils.

The painting is, interestingly, to be seen at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art following a purchase in 1976 for over $7 million in today’s money.

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