Paul Gauguin: The Ham

The Ham: Paul Gauguin

The Ham is an 1889 still life picture by French Post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin and is about as dull as a painting like this can be. Painted in the year of the Exposition Universelle in Paris when the Eiffel Tower was unveiled as a symbol of modernity, Gauguin’s The Ham is distinctly unfashionable.

The prevalent subject matter of painting at the time was the urban café society. This quiet still life is delightfully painted. A fleshly side of ham rests on a platter and is flanked by a glass of wine on a table that is in front of a decorative screen. The meal and beverage ready, we anticipate the convening of the meal but are suspended in the moment of observation of the artist’s painterly skill.

Paul Gauguin’s The Ham is in the Phillips Collection in Washington.

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