Paul Gauguin is one of the many post-impressionist artists who did not obtain the respect of the artistic world until after he passed away.
Once art lovers began to look through the work of the departed Gaugin, they came to the realisation that the world had lost a true master of this artistic movement.
Spirit of the Dead Watching is an example of Paul Gauguin's style as it developed during his life. The painting is bold and deliberately naïve, paying little heed to perspective or anatomy but nonetheless coming across as an entirely accurate portrait of its own distorted world.
After his death, Gauguin's art was celebrated by what is known as the Primitivist movement, which valued a childlike purity over refinement or draftsmanship. Picasso was the most famous of the artists to take influence from Gauguin's work; and looking at "Spirit of the Dead Watching", the viewer is sure to notice a few similarities to the distinctive style of Picasso. Picasso may be the more revered, but it was Paul Gauguin who laid the groundwork.
Spirit of the Dead Watching is a particularly intriguing piece, presenting an image that is full of mystery. A woman lies on a bed, while a strange, black-garbed figure peers at her from nearby, resting an arm on her bed.
From the title, we can infer that this is a ghost. Whose ghost is it? Could it be that the woman is dead, and it is her own departed spirit viewing her body?
Or perhaps she is sleeping in a room that is haunted? If she is asleep, maybe the scene represents a dream? Each viewer is liable to come up with their own interpretation, making "Spirit of the Dead Watching" a truly fascinating work of art.