Oil on canvas, 26 3/4 x 36 in. (67.9 x 91.5 cm)
Chester Dale Collection, National Gallery of Art 1963.10.149
(From the museum website)|
"Fatata te Miti was painted during Gauguin's first trip to Tahiti."
This "painting is a more straight-forward depiction of life on the island. One woman removes her pareo to join a companion already plunging into the sea for a swim. Nearby a man fishes with a spear. The intense, tropical colors—hot oranges and cool blues—convey sensual delight. This is the effortless and uninhibited paradise that Gauguin had hoped to find in the South Seas. Little remained of this life, however, by the time Gauguin reached Tahiti. Polynesian culture had been transformed by western missionaries and colonialism, and the ancient religion replaced by Christianity. Gauguin wrote and illustrated a manuscript about Polynesian mythology, but most of what he knew about the island gods came from previously published sources."