Tahitian Landscape

"You ask about what I do," wrote Gauguin in November of this year, just five months after his arrival in Tahiti. "It is hard to say, for I myself don't know what it is worth. Sometimes I find it good, and at the same time find it looks awful . . . I am satisfied to search within myself, and not [to examine] nature, and to learn to draw a little . . ."

Nevertheless Gauguin did look about him, was affected by his new surroundings, especially by a new-found silence, by a sense of eternity, very different -- or so it seemed to him -- from the activity, the struggle, the tension of European life. "I feel all this penetrating me and can now rest in extraordinary fashion."

Something of this new-found peace pervades this picture. It is composed on large lines, with few elements. Its scale, suggested by the single, small figure in the foreground, is enormous, and there is an exceptional sense of light and depth, a harmony of nature untroubled by overtones of mystery. Curiously, the top of the mountain's peak suggests the profile of Cezanne's Mont St. Victoire. This is surely coincidence. The color harmonies, the repetition of curves, the broad surfaces are Gauguin'├ęs own. For once Gauguin is at peace with nature's spectacle, willing in simple fashion (like an Impressionist!) to equate its surface with its secret.

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