Aha oe feii? (What! Are You Jealous?), 1892

In What! Are You Jealous?, two women are represented in a pose that simultaneously expresses a turning towards and a turning away from each other. One, with darker skin, appears to be sitting in the shade, while the other lies slightly further back in the warm sunlight. They are set against a backdrop of pale pink and intensive red and thereby fuse into one body, as it were. Surrounded by a “nature” that seems almost abstract, the two women radiate a profound tranquility. Gauguin construes the pictorial plane as three-dimensional space only in selected parts of the composition. Follow the shoreline as it rises diagonally towards the top of the picture: there is no spatial depth, no room for the legs of the woman lying down. The flat reflections dancing on the water on the lefthand side of the picture generate a rhythmic movement, in a free play of color that attractively complements the women’s sculpturally modeled bodies and transforms nature into bewitching ornament.

Oil on canvas, 66 x 89 cm, The State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow; Photo: © The State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow

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