Within this drawing we find just a few simple touches of black crayon as the artist attempts to put together a memorable depiction of his son. Without photography being a mainstream item at this time, one would have to be imaginative in how to capture personal moments such as these. Emil would have been a particularly young baby at this point and we can tell this from the portrait in front of us here. Gauguin created several of him at this age, perhaps excited by his arrival and the charm that many babies bring to their new families. The artist also liked to use portraiture as a means to developing his skills as a draughtsman, having lacked the educational upbringing that most famous artists would have had. He was self-taught in many ways, similar to another Primitivism artist, Henri Rousseau.
The young baby has fattened cheeks which point out to the side, giving Emil more of a squarer face shape than he may later have had. His clothing is buttoned up, and likely to be the one single type of outfit that many babies will wear in their early years. His hand creeps in from the right and his facial expression is fairly sleepy, when normally he has his eyes open when Gauguin chose to draw him.
This artwork can now be found in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art in the US. They have a good number of Gauguin drawings within their permanent display, as well as a number of paintings too. This European painter remains much loved across the world, and also his influence is understood by many, as shown in how Picasso moved on in his future years. Those interested in the technical side of art will find these sketches to being highly important, a means by which one can strip down an artist's work to the barebones, enabling us to understand better how he put his portraits and landscape scenes together. We also have some examples available that include incomplete paintings, where touches of initial pencil lines are still there.