Wood Tankard and Metal Pitcher

Oil on canvas, 24 3/4 x 20 1/2 in. (62.9 x 52.1 cm)
A Millennium Gift of Sara Lee Corporation, AIC 1999.362

This tankard "turns up in several of his works", even in a portrait of his sleeping son, Clovis. It's huge compared to the young child, as we can see in the online version and in the paper version of "Gauguin's Bid for Glory", in Smithsonian magazine, March 2011.

The tankard has been identified as a Norwegian eighteenth century vessel belonging to Gauguin's wife Mette. Did this painting have more significance than just being a simple still life? Richard Brettell thinks so. "It might, in a certain sense, be interpreted as a 'portrait of a marriage,' in which Gauguin embodied the character and national origins of his wife in the large Danish drinking vessel and set that in the contrast to a small, dented pitcher that has known a different kind of wear." (From Gauguin and Impressionism, by Richard R. Brettell and Anne-Birgitte Fonsmark, pages 94-95)