Where Do We Come From?

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Collection Created By:  Museum of Fine Arts Boston

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

1897・€・98
Paul Gauguin (French, 1848・€・1903)

In 1891, Gauguin left France for Tahiti, seeking in the South Seas a society that was simpler and more elemental than that of his homeland. In Tahiti, he created paintings that express a highly personal mythology. He considered this work・€・created in 1897, at a time of great personal crisis to be his masterpiece and the summation of his ideas. Gauguins letters suggest that the fresco-like painting should be read from right to left, beginning with the sleeping infant. He describes the various figures as pondering the questions of human existence given in the title; the blue idol represents the Beyond. The old woman at the far left, close to death, accepts her fate with resignation.

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