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The Black Pigs Paul Gauguin


Paul Gauguin Paris, 1848 – Atuona, Marquesas Islands, 1903

Culture French
Date 1891
Object type painting
Medium, technique oil on canvas

92.5 × 72.2 cm

Inventory number 355.B
Collection Department of Art after 1800
On view This artwork is not on display

As a successful stockbroker Gauguin initially dabbled in painting only as a hobby. But in 1883, prompted by Pissarro, he broke with his original profession for good to dedicate his life to painting. With his first pictures he regularly featured in the group exhibitions of the Impressionists. Leaving behind the European illusionist traditions, he increasingly sought stimulation in exotic and primitive cultures. He found family ties depressing, felt disenchanted with civilization, and fled further and further from them. First to Pont Aven in Brittany, then to Martinique, and finally in 1891 to Tahiti.
The art of Gauguin became consummate in his years in Tahiti. He sought to express in the language of painting the dignity and harmony these peoples had retained from their ancient way of life and culture. The Black Pigs, which he painted in his first year in Tahiti, captures an exciting moment of stylistic transition. The foliage of the trees and the reed roof of the hut are formed in the Impressionist fashion with iridescent parallel brushstrokes, but these are gradually replaced by more uniform surfaces of colour, and the forms are outlined with strong blue lines. Here, particularly in the case of the animals and the female figures depicted in a state of archaic rest, he used compact, simplified forms. Within the deliberately composed structure the spatial relations of the motifs is governed by formal unity.


Peregriny, János, Az Országos Magyar Szépművészeti Múzeum állagai. 3.rész, Új szerzemények. 3. füzet: a, Plastikai művek; b, Az 1913. évi szerzemények; c, Kifüggesztésre, elhelyezésre és kezelésre vonatkozó adatok: d, Sorszámszerinti jegyzék; e, Tárgymutató; f, Javítások; g, Tartalomjegyzék, Országos Magyar Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest, 1915.

Genthon, István, Modern francia festmények: Szépművészeti Múzeum Budapest, Remekművek magyarországi gyűjteményekből/Meisterwerke aus ungarischen Sammlungen/Art treasures in Hungarian collections/Chefs d’oeuvre dans les collections hongroises, Corvina, Budapest, 1972, p. 42-44.

Illyés, Mária, Verő, Mária (ed.), XIX. századi francia művek, A Szépművészeti Múzeum gyűjteményei/The Collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest 4, Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest, 2001, p. 140-142.

Múzeumi Kalauz: Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, A Magyar Nemzeti Galéria kiadványai, Szépművészeti Múzeum – Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, Budapest, 2018, p. 243.

Remekművek: Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, A Magyar Nemzeti Galéria kiadványai 2020/5, Szépművészeti Múzeum – Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, Budapest, 2020, p. 52.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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