Garden under Snow Paul Gauguin

Gauguin's development as a painter (like his manner as a man) seems sudden and brusque. He began late, and skipped the normal student years; the development of his own style out of Impressionism came suddenly and all at once. But the years between, during which he served his apprenticeship as a professional and absorbed the atmosphere and understanding of the styles around him, were comparatively long. He was fortunate in not having to unlearn an academic manner and thus being able to step immediately into the progressive esthetic of his time.

But a picture such as this, painted at about the date ( January, 1883) he gave up his business career to become a full-time artist, shows how thoroughly he absorbed Impressionism. The cut off view, the close foreground, coming out and underfoot toward the spectator, the broad brush strokes, the overlaid layers of paint, all these bespeak Impressionism. Especially characteristic of the Impressionism of this period (differing from that of the seventies) is the close (rather than the earlier contrasting) color harmony and the more subdued force. But the scene is somewhat more desolate than those the Impressionists usually paint. It is empty and somehow abandoned, and one is tempted to imagine that this is a reflection of Gauguin's mood, a foreboding of the ever-increasing loneliness that was to haunt him for the remainder of his life.

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