The Siesta, ca. 1892–94
Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903)
Oil on canvas; 35 x 45 3/4 in. (88.9 x 116.2 cm)
The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Collection, Gift of Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, 1993, Bequest of Walter H. Annenberg, 2002 (1993.400.3)
Gauguin considered the unselfconscious ease of native Tahitian women one of the great attractions of life in the South Seas. Here he made their unaffected grace, as one art historian aptly put it, the subject of a picture. Close examination of the canvas reveals that he labored over the arrangement of the women, correcting their profiles, eliminating another figure at the far left, and painting the basket of fruit where there once was a dog. He also changed the sarong of the dramatically foreshortened woman at the center from bright red to navy blue.