Two Tahitian Women

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

Date: 1899

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 37 x 28 1/2 in. (94 x 72.4 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of William Church Osborn, 1949

Accession Number: 49.58.1


As Gauguin brought his work in Tahiti to a close, he focused increasingly on the beauty and serene virtues of the native women. In this painting, he depended on sculpturally modeled forms, gesture, and facial expression to vivify the sentiments he had used to describe the "Tahitian Eve": "very subtle, very knowing in her naïveté" and at the same time "still capable of walking around naked without shame." These two figures first appear in the artist's monumental frieze Faa Iheihe (Tahitian Pastoral) of 1898 (Tate, London) and again in the even larger Rupe Rupe (The Fruit Harvest) of 1899 (Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow), which he composed for the upcoming Exposition Universelle of 1900.