Head of a Tahitian Woman

Object Details

Title:

Head of a Tahitian Woman

Artist/Maker(s):

Paul Gauguin (French, 1848 - 1903)

Culture:

French

Place(s):

Tahiti, France (Place created)

Date:

about 1892

Medium:

Charcoal

Dimensions:

41.9 x 31.1 cm (16 1/2 x 12 1/4 in.)

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While still in his native France, Paul Gauguin yearned to escape the civilized society he knew. Wishing to imbue his art with a sense of primitivism, he sought refuge in a country he thought untouched by modern practices. Gauguin found the inspiration he was looking for in Colonial French Tahiti, where he made this life-size drawing of a rather defiant looking teenage girl. In the drawing, he boldly articulated her head, face, and neck, while indicating her shoulders and collar with lighter lines. But the girl's Western dress suggests that Tahiti was not the exotic land Gauguin had imagined: missionaries had destroyed its pre-European culture. Using flat, decorative forms, Gauguin presented Tahitian women as mysterious, unknowable creatures.

Provenance
about 1900

Ambroise Vollard, 1867 - 1939, Paris

about 1920

Paul Cassirer, German, 1871 - 1926, Berlin

by 1945

Mrs. Otto Wertheimer, Paris

1955

J. D. collection, 1955

Exhibitions
Posing for Posterity: Portrait Drawings from the Collection (October 30, 2001 to January 20, 2002)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 30, 2001 to January 20, 2002
Casting Characters: Portraits and Studies of Heads (November 4, 2003 to February 1, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 4, 2003 to February 1, 2004
Defining Modernity: European Drawings 1800-1900 (June 5 to September 9, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 5 to September 9, 2007
Images of the Artist (November 15, 2011 to February 12, 2012)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 15, 2011 to February 12, 2012
Voyage to the Exotic. Homage to Gauguin (October 9, 2012 to January 13, 2013) (38)
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, (Madrid), October 9, 2012 to January 13, 2013
Related Media
  • /
    Audio: Head of a Tahitian Woman (Exhibit: Images of the Artist)