During the stormy two months spent in Arles with Vincent van Gogh in the south of France, Paul Gauguin painted this portrait. Gauguin concentrates on the stout sitter's features of brown and reddish hair and a ruddy complexion. She was the wife of the local postman. The shape of the sitter is clearly outlined in Prussian blue. In contrast, a graphic representation of Paul's own images, Blue Trees, is seen on the wall behind the woman. Gauguin has painted parts of this artwork with flat and abstract colour as seen on the wall and shadow behind the chair. The wall of the room this stout woman sits in has a gentle blue hue, creating a calming sensation. Her attire is drab and plain. Though her cheeks are shown as rosy, her face depicts no emotion making it difficult to determine her mood at the time of the painting.
Paul Gauguin was born on 7 June 1848 in Paris, a journalist's son. He grew up to be an experimental illustrator who continuously changed his practice and refined it as he went along. Pissarro influenced his early artistry works, a figure he worked with in 1879 and 1881. He was renowned as an artist who opposed the naturalism that ruled the Western supreme in the middle of the 19th Century. He gained this reputation following the time he spent in French Polynesia painting and two periods in Tahiti.
A mix of more colourful hues on the painting hanging in the background adds life to the Portrait of Madame Roulin. The strokes of Gauguin's brushes bring together a blend of deep red, dark, almost jungle green, and mustard colours with distinct separation through the use of black lines. It almost expresses it sinful for the colours to touch each other without the clear demarcation. The reasons Gauguin selected the local postman's wife as the subject of this artwork remains unknown. A decade after his passing, Gauguins' portraits hit the big screen. The release of the documentary Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti in 2018 was poorly received. Vincent Cassel starred in it. Paul Gauguin, the French Post Impressionist, now gets the non-fiction handling with Gauguin From the National Gallery, London, succeeding the 2018 release.