The Picturesque Arles - The washerwoman has a perpetual appeal to the senses, as Paul Gauguin mixes the oils to a texture that compliments nature with the trees in olive instead of a darker green, the soil a musty brown and the water stretching out like a giant hand to demonstrate the women’s toil.
The painting is called Les Laveuses à Arles I (La Roubine du Roi), translated as Washerwomen at the Roubine du Roi Arles and currently gracing the walls at Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Although, Gauguin's former masters were Cézanne, Giotto, Raphael, Delacroix and Degas there’s something specific in his works. Perhaps, his painting is linked to his experimentation with sculpting, ceramics and printmaking which gave him a different perspective to color.
Most people instantly associate him to the Tahitian works, both rare and exceptional but his French works deserve in depth study too. It’s almost as if every blow of his brush on the Washerwoman is layered with Arthur Schopenhauer’s psychology, his widowed mother Alina's struggles and his father’s rebellious journalistic streak.
The accentuated bottoms of the women, although to the human eye looks out of proportionate is actually mathematically so precise in contrast to the whole picture.
Paul Gauguin – Washerwomen, is a luscious and lavish capture of an everyday task in this commune where he also met Vincent Van Gogh, who produced over 300 paintings in Arles.
The Washerwomen Textures - The Washerwomen is an oil on canvas with a dimension of 29.9 x 36.3 inches, signature and dated at the bottom in the year 1888. Paul Gauguin was not satisfied in just staying in the realm of paint brushes, he dabbled in wood engraving and was once even a stockbroker when he returned to Paris in 1871.
The Washerwomen’s textured layers, creates an intensity where the experience of feeling and hearing the forward and backward movement of the clothes grinding against the washer board, comes alive. Then, the seeping of the soap into the river and it’s even easy to imagine the sound of the chirping birds in the background.