Post-Impressionism: c. 1886-1904

The work of van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne and Seurat together constitute Post-Impressionism and yet their work is so varied and unrelated, we might never otherwise think of these four artists as a group. Certainly van Gogh and Gauguin were friends and they briefly painted together, but each of these artists was concerned with solving particular issues that had to do with their own individual sensibility. Ironically, if anything ties these artists together it is this focus on subjectivity. This tutorial explores the sketchy multiperspectival views of Cézanne, Seurat’s systematized critiques of upper middle-class Paris, Gauguin’s fascination with the primitive and exotic, and van Gogh’s unerring ability to deeply convey human experiences.

Vincent van Gogh, The Bedroom, 1889, oil on canvas, 29 x 36-5/8 inches / 73.6 x 92.3 cm (Art Institute of Chicago)
Van Gogh’s refuge for artists in the south of France is depicted with expressive color and sophisticated innocence.

Vincent van Gogh, The Bedroom

Paul Gauguin, The Red Cow (detail)
Cropped figures, vivid hues, and unnatural light turn a humdrum pastoral scene into an act of aesthetic rebellion.

Paul Gauguin, The Red Cow

Paul Gauguin, Nevermore - detail
Gauguin’s nude is suspended between dreams and reality— just like his imperialistic vision of Tahiti.

Paul Gauguin, Nevermore

Paul Gauguin, Oviri, 1894, Stoneware, 75 x 19 x 27 cm (Musée d’Orsay, Paris)
Gauguin’s ceramic Goddess of Death survives to this day thanks to the negligence of his flaky friend.

Paul Gauguin, Oviri