About This Artwork

Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903) and Émile Bernard (French, 1868–1941)

Earthly Paradise, 1888

Chestnut and pine, carved and polychromed; glass, metal hardware
101 x 120 x 60.5 cm (39 3/4 x 47 1/4 x 23 13/16 in.)

Through prior gift of Henry Morgen, Ann G. Morgen, Meyer Wasser, and Ruth G. Wasser; restricted gift of Edward M. Blair, 2007.247

This exceptional object attests to the spirit of collaboration and competition between Paul Gauguin and the younger artist Emile Bernard in the late 1880s. It also speaks to their experimentations with radical new styles and techniques and their desire to break down the hierarchy between painting and applied or decorative art. On three of the five panels, Bernard (left vertical) and Gauguin (center panel and probably top panel) carved men, women, animals, and apple trees inspired by village life at Pont Aven, motifs that they also used in their paintings. On the right panel, however, Gauguin carved figures from his trip the previous year to the tropical island of Martinique, which presaged his future voyages to Tahiti.

— Permanent collection label

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