Monday, May 14, 2012

The Meal by Paul Gauguin

The Meal by Paul Gauguin

The Meal

A Still Life
With foreign fruit
Island children
empty bowls
full of questions
and the vacant eyes of a girl.

J. Binford-Bell
May 2012

As a student of art I have always wondered about Gauguin's island days and the paintings he produced. They all seem to hold questions. Not the least of which is why Henri Paul Gauguin left France to go there; left the school of artists called impressionists to paint alone. Was it just for the colors he could use? For brown people to paint. And red dogs?

The Red Dog by Paul Gauguin

Did he run out of paints? Some his canvases seem to use an economy of paint. Almost washes as opposed to a more lavish application. They belie the richness of the color; the lushness of the subjects. The landscape they occupy.

When will you Marry by Paul Gauguin

I find myself nervous spying on what seems an uncomfortable moment. I want to escape from the eyes and run into the hills and fields behind them. Did he make them pose? Do quick covert sketches he later inserted into landscapes and still lifes? Why do they make me so uncomfortable?

The short poem of questions was written for Magpie Tales 117. The image The Meal a prompt. The questions I have always had about Gauguin are mine.


  1. that last one def is interesting...i like it when a pic brings so many stories to life...the eyes of the one in our prompt def seem weird, detatched or haunted...

  2. Perhaps the unease comes from the primitive handling of facial expressions, making the people seem not quite real? Interesting conjecture in your words...

  3. Focussing on the eyes is brilliant.

  4. "empty bowls full of questions"....what an amazing this! :-)

  5. Intriguing questions. It's only fairly recently that I've realised how many of his figures look out from the corners of their eyes. Is that, perhaps what makes you feel uncomfortable?

  6. Dave, I guess we would call that shifty eyed. But I think it is that the figures themselves look uncomfortable. And maybe the eyes have something to do with it but they do not look at ease. Almost as if they are afraid of the artist.

  7. I found your Magpie quite interesting .. food for thought (pardon the pun.)

  8. Interesting observations...nice write...

  9. Her eyes really are vacant, aren't they? That's what struck me most about this painting.


  10. Nice poem and I enjoyed the ponderings. I agree... something is just different about the mood of many of his paintings.


I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.