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Paul Gauguin, Bowl of Fruit and Tankard before a Window

Key facts
Full title Bowl of Fruit and Tankard before a Window
Artist Paul Gauguin
Artist dates 1848 - 1903
Date made probably 1890
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 50.8 × 61.6 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Simon Sainsbury, 2006
Inventory number NG6609
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Bowl of Fruit and Tankard before a Window
Paul Gauguin

One of Gauguin’s favourite paintings was Cezanne’s Still Life with Fruit Dish, (1879–80, Museum of Modern Art, New York), which he acquired for his own collection around 1880.

This still life is a homage to that picture, and repeats many of its elements: the fruit, the pottery, the rumpled tablecloth and the angled knife at the lower right. The truncated diagonal brushstrokes and the flattened perspective, in which foreground and distance are collapsed together, are also reminiscent of Cezanne’s work.

The narrow strip at the top of the painting – a dense arrangement of buildings – is something of an enigma. The inclusion of a frame suggests that it is a view from a window, but there is no continuity between the clearly defined larger scene and the smaller blurred image next to it. No specific view has yet been identified, and it looks more like a cityscape than rural Brittany, where Gauguin was spending extended periods of time when this was painted.

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