What’s on your walls?

When I was looking at Paul Gauguin’s Still Life with Peonies (1884), I noticed something interesting – there’s an Edgar Degas ballerina painting in the background. What is the other painting in the background? I think it’s a Cezanne painting, but I haven’t been able to find the exact painting yet. I noticed Gauguin does this a lot – in many of his still life paintings, there is another painting in the background – almost like an homage to an artist friend or an artist he admired.

Nature Morte aux Tomatoes (1883) – with a Van Gogh in the background, the brushstrokes are characteristic of Van Gogh

Paul Gauguin (1848 – 1903), the French Post-Impressionist artist is most well known for the paintings he made while living in Tahiti. Gauguin was a friend of Camille Pissaro, Paul Cezanne, Degas, and even Van Gogh – with Cezanne having the biggest influence on him. He collected artworks of both Degas and Cezanne, many of which appear in the background of his works.

Woman in Front of a Still Life by Cezanne (1890) – this one is titled with the background painting
This is Hope (1901) shows two paintings in the background. The top one is French artist Pierre Puvis de Chavannes’s (1824 – 1898) painting titled Hope. The bottom one is an etching by Edgar Degas.

Still Life with Japanese Print, and, Still Life with Head-Shaped Vase and Japanese Woodcut – both have a Japanese print in the background. Interestingly, the painting on the left in the background, at first glance looked like a Gustav Klimt painting to me!!

Maurice Denis, Homage to Cezanne (1900)

In an interesting turn of events, French artist Maurice Denis (1870 – 1943) pays homage to Cezanne and indirectly to Gauguin and Renior in this painting. The painting in the front easel is Cezanne’s Fruit Bowl, Glass, and Apples (1879) which was owned by Gauguin. Hanging on the back wall of the gallery are a Gauguin and a Renoir painting

(Images courtesy Google Arts & Culture &National Museum of Australia)

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