Contes barbares (Primitive Tales): Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin: Contes barbares (Primitive Tales)

French Neo-Impressionist Paul Gauguin painted Contes barbares (Primitive Tales) in 1902 a year before his death. It is ironically titled, the ‘primitives’ that sit in their pacific lotus position and languidly and peacefully look out to us are contrasted with Gauguin’s depiction of his artist friend Meyer de Haan who seems to represent western culture which Gauguin saw as decadent.

De Hann’s pose and expression are contorted and, with his green eyes seems to embody a westerner’s envy of the blissful life of the natives.

Paul Gauguin’s Contes barbares (Primitive Tales) is in the Folkwang Museum in Essen, Germany.

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