Disgusted with the materialism of European society, Gauguin abandoned his family and career as a stockbroker and departed for Tahiti in 1891. This canvas is among the first paintings he completed on the island. Its rich colors and stylized figures were intended to be both symbolic and mysterious, evoking private thoughts and emotions. “I obtain symphonies,” he wrote, “harmonies that represent nothing real in the absolute sense of the word.”

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  • Title: The Large Tree
  • Creator: Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903)
  • Date Created: 1891
  • Physical Dimensions: Framed: 92.4 x 112.7 x 6.4 cm (36 3/8 x 44 3/8 x 2 1/2 in.); Unframed: 74 x 92.8 cm (29 1/8 x 36 9/16 in.)
  • Provenance: (Reinhardt Gallery, New York, NY, 1927), (Leicester Galleries, London, United Kingdom, 1929, sold to Mr. Frank H. Ginn), Mr. Frank H. Ginn [1868-1938], Gates Mills, OH, by descent to this daughter, Barbara Ginn, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Griesinger (Barabara Ginn), Cleveland, OH, given to the Cleveland Museum of Art, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1975.263
  • Medium: oil on fabric
  • Inscriptions: Signed lower right: P Gauguin 91 Inscribed lower left: Te raau rahi
  • Fun Fact: Gauguin positions four women in a friezelike sequence seeking shelter under the dark green leaves of a large tree while the leaves of the second tree add a decorative pattern to the pink thatched roof. With his brush, he captures contrasting elements of the tropical climate, sending the viewer into the cool shade to escape the hot sun.
  • Department: Modern European Painting and Sculpture
  • Culture: France, 19th century
  • Credit Line: Gift of Barbara Ginn Griesinger
  • Collection: Mod Euro - Painting 1800-1960
  • Accession Number: 1975.263

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