Paul Gauguin (1848–1903)
Young Christian Girl, 1894
Oil on canvas, 25 3/4 x 18 3/8 in. (65.3 x 46.7 cm)
Acquired by the Clark in honor of Harding F. Bancroft (Institute Trustee, 1970–87; President, 1977–87), 1986
Young Christian Girl was painted while Gauguin was visiting the small village of Pont-Aven, in Brittany. Devoted to her faith, a Breton girl stands with hands joined and eyes downcast, concentrating on her prayers; the lilac-hued shapes near her shoulders are suggestive of an angel's wings. Her yellow dress plays off the vibrant colors of the red and orange poplars and the brilliant blue sky. The painting shows the strong influence of Gauguin's stay in Tahiti: the flattened forms and ambiguous space are both drawn from his study of non-Western art. Furthermore, the girl wears a Tahitian missionary dress like Annah, the artist's Javanese mistress, would have worn.
Click on the image to see the full painting.