Gauguin, Paul (1848-1903)

Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?


Oil on canvas

54 3/4 x 147 1/2 in.

Gaugin loved the natural people of the Pacific. He fled from cultured France to capture the vibrant of the sunny colors there. Still he was a true artist always loyal to the philosophy. In the midst of the natural beauty he poses the question what the time-perspective is of all this natural humanity? Can we simply enjoy it, or is there more to consider? Do we serve a purpose, do we have a history, have we learnt anything, is there a future in this? He does not portray a problematic present though. He shows mainly woman in natural contemplation as if awaiting the further lovemaking of the artist. Whether he paints or caresses them, what is the difference? What matters is: does this have a future, was it so in the past and is it a present day reality? There is an idol left of the middle in blue. Blue means ignorance: the time is not known. The title asks for it. How does time relate to an idol? How do people deal with natural time? Should we replace the idol with a clock and paint it white? Is there a solution to the problem of time, or should we simply respect the nature of it as we did before, apparently can do in the present, and hopefully retrieve in the future.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

study this painting in detail 

Artchive: Paul Gaugin

Time Art Gallery/hall 2