Skip to main content

Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi/ Photo: APF



Paul Gauguin

Gauguin (1848–1903) discovered Japanese prints in 1887 through Vincent van Gogh. In 1888, for this Breton wrestling match, he adopted the aesthetic of the print to produce a painting in oil on canvas “like a Japanese crepon print”. He opted for “summary execution” – the woodcut involves working with a gouge on a block marked with a reversed drawing, hence the often simplified lines – and limited his palette to a few colours. This is again an inherent characteristic of prints, which are built up colour by colour with different woodblocks. For this vertical work, Gauguin dispenses with a horizon to create an effect of depth with no perspective by placing the clothes of the wrestling children on the grass in the foreground. The flat expanse of the green meadow then occupies three quarters of the composition up to the white at the top, from which it is separated by a hazy line, a distant relation of the mist used by the Japanese to suggest perspective. The two children wrestling appear out of proportion and the third in the upper right is represented without modelling.

Artwork Details

Artist: Paul Gauguin
Title: Children Wrestling
Geography: Pont-Aven, France
Date: 1888

Medium: oil on canvas

Classification: graphic arts (drawing, painting, engraving, calligraphy)
Dimensions: 93 x 73 cm
Inventory number: LAD 2010.001
Contact for images : [email protected]
Permalink :


Mobile View None For an optimal experience please
rotate your device to portrait mode