Paul Gauguin was born in June 7, 1848, Paris, France and died May 8, 1903, Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia. He is one of the leading French painters of the Post-impressionist period, whose development of a conceptual method of representation was a decisive step for 20th-century art. From 1891 he lived and worked in Tahiti and elsewhere in the South Pacific, where his art work Under the Pandanus setting at. Under the Pandanus was painted shortly after Gauguin arrived on the islands in search of his famed reprieve from Western civilization.
In Tahiti Gauguin sought an exotic world far from Western civilization, a distant place of brilliant colors, luscious vegetation, and foreign custom. There he found both the real and psychological distance to pursue his radical aesthetic goal of an art that does not copy nature. In Under the Pandanus, Gauguin suppressed spatial illusionism and instead constructed the landscape with horizontal bands of colors, which reinforce the two-dimensionality of the canvas.
The figures are dressed in skirts of flowered cotton wrapped around the waist. The red fabric forms a bold contrast to the brilliant green field to the left, a daring manipulation of complementary colors that is repeated in the fruits balanced on the shoulders of the figure at the right. The reddish brown earth bears a calligraphic pattern of undulating yellow fallen palm leaves that gives the impression of hot, molten material.
The black dog at the center of the composition seems to transcend mere genre, suggesting the animalistic or barbaric qualities that Gauguin imagined he had discovered in the South Pacific. The seductive aura of the exotic undoubtedly served as a powerful catalyst for Gauguin’s bold redefinition of painting. Gauguin’s art expressed his vision of the world. Unspoiled nature was bountiful and generous, warm, forgiving, and open. Like his paintings, it had no boundaries, and its essence existed only in the imagination.
Even as his body failed and his resources expired, its lure did not fray, nor did his zeal for it diminis. Undergrowth vegetation in tropical and subtropical areas is home to countless creatures (mammals, reptiles, birds) that sustain sandflies, ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes, whose complex natural cycles flourish in the heat and humidity so central to Gauguin’s Eden. Gauguin’s art style reinforced in this painting: post-impressionism: by the figure, color, setting, and exotic place.