I chose Paul Gauguin’s “Woman in a coffeehouse, Madame Ginoux in the Café de la Gare in Arles” for this assignment. Its media is painting with oil paints in various warm colors being used to tell a story.
Burnt orange upper walls blending into tan lower walls set the tone of this painting as an entertainment area that feels hot in temperature as you look at it. At one table there are two men that appear to be placed in the background because they are both drunk with one actually passed out on the table. Directly in front of them our eyes are drawn to two balls; one is white and the other is orange. This is bringing the color of the walls down onto the table. The third ball lines you up to see the woman in the front right corner who is sitting alone. Her face is tan like the lower walls and if not for the thin outline of her face, she would merely fade into the wall.
The clothing worn by five of the seven people in the room is very dark, holding a depressed feel to them. At a table directly behind the lonely woman are two people, a man and a woman who appear to be the life of the party through the colors of their clothing. The man’s orange shirt, like the pool ball, brings the upper wall color down lower into Gauguin’s painting. It keeps your eyes within the center of the painting.
There is a painting on the wall in the background that balances the table of the lonely woman who sits at the front of the picture. Her table top is light in color showing us, like the light of her blouse, which these objects are in the direct of a light source. The further back you look into the painting, the darker the surfaces, with the exception of the light colored table that the two men are sitting at. It makes you feel that there is may be a connection between the lonely woman, who is looking in their direction, and them. The room is smokey, as painted with the off white diagonal lines going across the painting over the four people in the background.
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