Period: 19th century (8843)
Type: oil paint (473)
Style: French (759) | Post-Impressionist (33)
birds (536) | crows (3) | dreams (10) | figures (4114) | nudes (1735) | paintings (2102) | primitivism (2) | sleeping (104) | symbolism (57) | women (1424)
Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)
Oil on canvas
Height: 60.5 cm ( canvas ); Width: 116 cm ( canvas ); Height: 83.7 cm ( frame ); Width: 139.1 cm ( frame ); Depth: 9 cm ( frame );
Signed, top left, recto, NEVERMORE / P.
Gauguin 97/0. TAITI
Courtauld, Samuel; gift; 1932
About this work
The two figures in the background and the ‘bird of the devil that is keeping watch’, as Gauguin called it, seem to be conspiring against the reclining woman. She lies awake, perhaps conscious of being watched. The title evokes Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, in which a poet, driven mad by the loss of his love, hears a raven repeating endlessly ‘Nevermore’. Here, Gauguin suggests the loss of innocence. He was deeply disappointed by Tahiti, where he had moved from Paris, hoping to find a primitive and unspoilt paradise. Instead, he found a society marred by corruption and colonialism.
(Permanent collection label)
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Copyright: © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London