1892 oil on burlap one two three, CM2, cahier PDF painting by Paul Gauguin, depicting a naked Tahitian girl lying on her stomach. An old woman is seated behind her.
Gauguin said the title may refer to either the girl imagining the ghost, or the ghost imagining her. Art historian Nancy Mowll Mathews says the painting is a direct descendent of a previous series of « frightened Eves » that Gauguin painted from 1889. Eisenman, professor of Art History at Northwestern University, suggests the painting and its narrative is « a veritable encyclopaedia of colonial racism and misogyny ». Eisenman’s book Gauguin’s Skirt challenges conventional notions of the political and gender content of Gauguin’s paintings.
Other historians such as Naomi E. Maurer have viewed the narrative as a device to make the indecency of the subject more acceptable to a European audience. Gauguin’s self-portrait of 1893, with Spirit of the Dead Watching in the background. Gauguin painting, his Self-portrait with Hat, indicating the importance he attached to it.
Pollock notes a structural correspondence between the two paintings. In Spirit of the Dead Watching, a viewer for the scene is invoked by Teha’amana’s gaze on the bed, a viewer for whom Gauguin has to invent a narrative, while in Olympia the implied narrative is that of prostitution, as critics of the time such as Emile Zola clearly recognised. Teha’amana’s fear and paranoia on him, the intruder. Richard Field has provided a critical analysis of these sources. Letter to Daniel Monfreid In an 8 December 1892 letter to Daniel Monfreid, Gauguin gives the titles of eight paintings he is sending out for exhibition in Copenhagen. He translates the title Manao tupapau as « Think of the Ghost, or, The Spirits of the Dead are Watching » and goes on to say that he wants to reserve it for a later sale, but will sell for 2,000 francs. Dark dull violet, dark blue and chrome.
In short, it is a fine bit of painting, although it is not according to nature. Parau Parau Whispered Words by Paul Gauguin 1892. Letter to Mette Gauguin In an 8 December 1892 letter to his wife, Gauguin gives translations of the Tahitian titles of the paintings he intends to send. He stresses this is for Mette’s eyes only, so that she can provide them for those who ask for them. I painted a nude of a young girl. In this position she is on the verge of being indecent.
But I want it that way: the lines and movement are interesting to me. And so, I give her, in depicting the head, a bit of a fright. It is necessary to justify this fright if not to explain it because it is in the character of a Maori person. Traditionally these people have a great fear of the spirits of the dead. According to Gauguin, the phosphorescences that could be seen in Tahiti at night, and which natives believed to be the exhalations of the spirits of the dead, were emitted by mushrooms that grew on trees.
Gauguin began this notebook in 1893 for his eldest daughter Aline, then sixteen years old, during his first visit to Tahiti. Unfortunately she died in 1897 from pneumonia before she could receive it. In this rather daring position, quite naked on a bed, what might a young Kanaka girl be doing? This is indeed in her character, but it is indecent and I do not want that.