Gauguin's work is well known for its vivid use of colour and for what was sometimes called (by both detractors and admirers) a 'savage' style of depicting the world.
This 'savage' use of bold, strong colours in a way that more than enhances the palette of colours that we usually encounter in everyday life may be said to prefigure the work of the Fauvists.
A French group of artists, the Fauvists (the name literally means 'the wild beasts') worked in the first decade of the twentieth century to create vivid, strong, courageous works that were typified by an enhanced use of colours. Gauguin's paintings may be said to have inspired later Fauvist art.
Why Are You Angry? is one of what is known as Gauguin's Tahitian paintings. Gauguin was fascinated by Tahiti and he visited it many times. During and after each of his visits, he painted artworks that depicted life in the country.
The last time that he visited was in the latter part of 1895, a year before he painted Why Are You Angry.
Gauguin's work is often characterised by a strong sense of backstory. We can definitely see this with Why Are You Angry? In this painting, the postures of the women are hard to read. And, though there is clearly some relationship between the female figures, it is difficult to tell at first glance precisely what that is.
Who is the angry one? And, as the title suggests, why are they angry? With whom are they angry? So many questions float through the viewer's mind as they are drawn in by this artwork with its lush colour scheme.