Four Breton Women, Gauguin

Four Breton Women, Gauguin
Four Breton Women, Gauguin

Gauguin's work, Four Breton Women, is one of the most valued and controversial pieces created by the Post-Impressionist artist. In it Gauguin uses flat figures that are composed through color and that refer to the forms of the Japanese prints that were so famous during the artist's time.

Paul Gauguin (1848 – 1903) is one of the most outstanding artists of the Post-Impressionist movement. His work is the starting point towards modernity and some of the new artistic avant-gardes of the 20th century will find their greatest influence in Gauguin's canvases. Despite being born in France, the first years of his childhood were spent in Peru, however the artist and his mother had to return to France after the death of his father. Gauguin led a comfortable life sheltered by his relatives and the army to which he belonged; There was nothing to suspect that over time Gauguin would become one of the most important figures in the history of art. In the 1960s, Gauguin became acquainted with Pizarro's painting and gradually entered the art world until he gave up his career in the army for it.


After abandoning his wife and children, the painter settled for some time in French Brittany where he met the artists of the Pont Aven School and laterfounded the Nabis Group. From this period is the canvas that concerns us here, CuatroBreton women who has also been known as Four Breton Women Dancing. In reality, we do not know for sure if the canvas was painted in Port Aven or if the artist made it on his return to Paris with the multiple sketches that he had made during his stay in Brittany. The canvas was purchased by Theo Van Gogh, a collector and brother of the well-known painter Vincen Van Gogh, and is currently on display at the Neue Pinakothek in Munich.

Almost the entire canvas is occupied by four female figures who appear dressed in the typical costumes of the area, they are in an open and natural space and separated by what seems to be a fence in such a way that three of them are on one side and one on the other side of the fence. In the background in the upper right corner appears a farmer.

The work has presented multiple interpretations among art experts since some consider that the women are not talking separated by the fence but are dancing and what some have defined as the fence is actually the ground. Some experts associate this work by Gauguin with some of Degás' works inspired by dancers and with a canvas from the same period made with the artist and known as Three Breton Girls Dancing. However, and if so, the work of the post-impressionist would not be finished since the woman who stands in front of the viewer lacks her lower limbs.

Popular topic