Delightful Land, 1893–94
Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903)
Woodcut printed in color on thin wove paper; 13 7/8 x 8 in. (35.2 x 20.3 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1936 (36.6.5)
In this print, Gauguin reimagines the biblical story of the Fall. Eve is now a native Tahitian woman, the Garden of Eden a lush tropical paradise, the devilish serpent a fantastical winged lizard, and the apple from the Tree of Knowledge an exotic flower from a peacocklike plant. The right-hand border of the print is patterned much like the carved house-posts that Gauguin encountered in Tahiti. Adding to the cultural mix, Gauguin based Eve's statuesque figure on photographs of a sculpted frieze from a Javanese Buddhist temple. The composition derives from an earlier painting by the artist (1892; Ohara Museum of Art, Kurashiki, Japan), which he further reworked in a series of drawings and monotypes.