When you get married by Paul Gauguin

When you get married by Paul Gauguin

“When is the wedding?” canvas, oil. The painting was painted by the French artist Post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin in 1892. During the last 50 years, the canvas belonged to the family of Rudolf Shtekhlin and exhibited in the Art Museum of the Swiss city of Basel.

In February 2015, this picture was acquired by a certain private buyer, after which, according to available information, she went to one of the museums of the state of Qatar. It is noteworthy that the canvas was bought for 300 million dollars, which for today makes it the most expensive painting in history.

For the first time Gauguin visited Tahiti in 1891. He was in search of an “edema,” a paradise garden that would inspire him to create a truly pure and primitive art. In France at that time there were a lot of pictures made in the genre of primitivism, but they gave excessive artificiality. Arriving on the island, Gauguin realized that Tahiti was not at all what he thought he was. The islands were colonized in the XVIII century, after which at least two thirds of the indigenous population died from imported diseases from Europe.

Primitive population was practically destroyed. Nevertheless, Gauguin wrote many pictures of islanders: naked, dressed in traditional clothes of women from Tahiti and dressed in western missionary dresses, such as the girl in the background of the painting “When is the wedding?”.

The land in the foreground and middle plan is made in green, yellow and blue colors. In the middle and foreground, a woman dressed in a traditional dress for women of Tahiti is depicted. Behind her stands the figure of the second girl, dressed in a missionary dress with a strict high collar. Naomi Maurer believes that the gesture of her hand can be characterized as a Buddhist mudra, meaning a threat or warning.

The woman closest to the viewer stretched out in a curved pose, and the features of her face were described by the artist as simple and unpretentious. The female figure behind is framed by a yellow-blue background. Her face is located in the center of the picture and is made by an artist with a much greater individuality. Her pink dress definitely stands out in the picture and is different from the rest of the color scheme of this canvas.

Historian Nancy Mowle Matthews wrote that Gauguin portrayed the native population of Tahiti as if they had come into this life only to sing and love. In his opinion, it was thanks to this approach that the artist received money from his friends and aroused public interest in his trip and work. But, of course, Gauguin himself knew the truth that Tahiti was an unremarkable colonized island inhabited by a multinational society with Western priorities. Pictures with the inhabitants of Tahiti depicted on them, including the painting “When the wedding?”, Were perceived by spectators rather coldly and indifferently when Paul Gauguin returned to France.

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