National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Landscape at Le Pouldu Paul Gauguin (artist)
French, 1848 - 1903
Landscape at Le Pouldu, 1890
oil on canvas
overall: 73.3 x 92.4 cm (28 7/8 x 36 3/8 in.) framed: 103.2 x 122.9 x 10.4 cm (40 5/8 x 48 3/8 x 4 1/8 in.)
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon
1983.1.20
On View
From the Tour: Paul Gauguin
Object 3 of 8

After his first stay in Brittany, Gauguin returned to Paris in time for the 1889 international exposition marking the centennial of the French Revolution. Refused space at the official art exhibition, he mounted an independent show with several colleagues near the entrance to the huge fair, billing their work "impressioniste et synthétiste," but it was not a success. He decided to escape Paris and its scornful critics. Among the most popular attractions at the exposition, and Gauguin's personal favorites, had been performances by Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and a troupe of Javanese dancers—Gauguin began to talk of emigrating to the more exotic lands of Tonkin (Vietnam), Madagascar, or Tahiti. But he returned instead to Brittany.

In 1889 he found the village of Pont-Aven crowded with artists. Seeking a more isolated—and less expensive—environment, he and several colleagues took up residence in Le Pouldu, a small hamlet nine kilometers distant. From there they made many expeditions to the countryside, but their landscapes, like this one, were painted primarily from memory and sketches. "Don't copy nature too literally," Gauguin advised. "Art is abstraction; draw art as you dream in nature's presence, and think more about the act of creation than about the final result."

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