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Earthly Paradise

A work made of chestnut and pine, carved and polychromed; glass, metal hardware.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of chestnut and pine, carved and polychromed; glass, metal hardware.




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

About this artwork

Combining painting, sculpture, and carpentry, this unique object was created collaboratively by Paul Gauguin and his younger contemporary Émile Bernard. Their artistic experiments, often undertaken in the spirit of friendly competition, challenged hierarchical distinctions between fine art, grounded in aesthetics, and decorative art, associated with functionality. Bernard carved the left panel and possibly the bottom panel. Both artists incorporated animals, trees, and people from village life in Brittany, France, motifs they also used in their paintings. The figures on the right panel were inspired by Gauguin’s trip the previous year to the Caribbean island of Martinique. This visit informed his later decision to leave France, which ultimately led him to Tahiti.


On View, Gallery 247


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Paul Gauguin


Earthly Paradise


France (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Chestnut and pine, carved and polychromed; glass, metal hardware


101 × 120 × 60.5 cm (39 3/4 × 47 1/4 × 23 13/16 in.)

Credit Line

Through prior gift of Henry Morgen, Ann G. Morgen, Meyer Wasser, and Ruth G. Wasser; purchased with funds provided by Edward M. Blair

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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