Faaturuma (Melancholic), 1891
Oil on canvas
"Disillusioned with modern society, Paul Gauguin left France for Tahiti in 1891 in search of an earthly paradise that he imagined was untouched by civilization. Upon arriving, he realized that colonialism had all but eradicated traditional Tahitian culture.
Here, a Tahitian woman wears a Western-style dress and gold marriage band introduced by Catholic missionaries. In order to emphasize the “exoticness” of his subject, Gauguin gave his painting a Tahitian title, Faaturuma. This roughly translates to melancholic or brooding; Gauguin appears to be commenting on the sadness of this lost paradise."
The Croquet Party
Oil on canvas (1871)
"Considered the most innovative French painter of the 1860s, Edouard Manet greatly influenced the artists who would become the Impressionists through his urban subjects and painterly style. Although Manet never exhibited with them, he adopted their bright and high-keyed palette from the 1870s onward.
Here, Manet depicted his friends and family playing a game of croquet at a fashionable resort on the Normandy coast. On the advice of his doctor, Manet traveled there in the summer of 1871, probably to recover from the devastating siege of Paris by the Prussian army in 1870–1871, during which time he served as an officer in the French army."
Jo, the Beautiful Irish Woman
Oil on canvas (1866)
"This canvas celebrates Gustave Courbet’s feeling for his subject Jo Hiffernan, whom he affectionately called “the beautiful Irish woman.” He painted the portrait shortly after meeting Hiffernan, the studio model and mistress of the American painter James McNeill Whistler, during the summer of 1865. As the composition was incredibly popular with Courbet’s middle-class patrons, he painted four almost identical versions around 1866, including this one. He kept one of the portraits until his death, making copies from it upon request."
The Lock of Saint-Mammès
"Horizontal in format, this landscape features a view of a waterway populated by several barges. The foreground is entirely comprised of water, while the middle ground is occupied by an embankment and low lavender-hued wall that runs the length of the canvas. Small figures can be seen on the boats as well as the embankment. Three houses can be seen on the left side of the middle ground, with green trees visible behind multiple points of the wall. A hazy blue sky occupies most of the top half of the composition. The brushwork is short and choppy, and can be seen throughout the picture’s surface. The overall aesthetic is sketch-like, with unpainted or thinly painted areas in the sky suggesting atmosphere and transparent clouds.
'In 1893, Claude Monet bought land adjacent to his property in Giverny, dug a pond, and turned it into a Japanese-inspired water garden. This contemplative environment served as inspiration for a series of paintings that occupied Monet’s artistic production from 1901 until his death in 1926. Typical of his other paintings dedicated to the water lily pond, the subject here is not so much the flowers but the dream-like effects produced by light reflecting off this liquid world.
Water Lilies was originally created as the right-hand segment of a triptych composed of three identically sized panels. Monet conceived it as part of a larger decorative installation intended to produce a soothing, meditative experience for its viewers.’
In this vibrantly colored landscape of a French peasant out with his dog, Paul Gauguin employed the tropical palette he developed while living in Tahiti from 1891 to 1893. Typical of his later production, Gauguin painted on a burlap-like fabric whose coarse and uneven texture was a deliberate component of the picture’s overall appearance. Gauguin intended the surface to convey the character of ancient wall murals. Commercially unsuccessful in Paris, Gauguin returned to Polynesia in 1895 and remained there the rest of his life.
Still Life with Cat and Fish
(French, 1699 – 1779)
“On a brown stone ledge in lower foreground are placed an overturned shallow pottery bowl with a large piece of cut fish lying on top; at left, a calico cat placing its front left paw on the fish; at right, two scallions, three mussels, and a piece of fruit; suspended above the ledge, right of center, hang two hake; all are set against a brown wall.” 🐈
"The French painter Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin is considered one of the finest exponents of still life painting in the history of art. Largely self-taught and influenced in particular by a down-to-earth realism, he produced highly polished small-scale works of still life as well as numerous examples of genre painting evoking a sober, simplistic harmony. Although both his background and his subjects were humble, he became one of the most important and influential contributors to French painting of the 18th century, raising still lifes and domestic scenes to a new level of importance."