Delightful Land

Series/Portfolio: Noa Noa (Fragrance)

Artist: Paul Gauguin (French, Paris 1848–1903 Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands)

Date: 1893–94

Medium: Woodcut printed in color on thin wove paper

Dimensions: 13 7/8 x 8 in. (35.2 x 20.3 cm) block

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1936

Accession Number: 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 peacock-like 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 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.