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Nevermore

Photo credit: The Courtauld

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The two figures in the background and the ‘bird of the devil that is keeping watch’, as Gauguin called it, seem to be conspiring against the reclining woman. She lies awake, perhaps conscious of being watched. The title evokes Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Raven’, in which a poet, driven mad by the loss of his love, hears a raven repeating endlessly ‘Nevermore’. Here, Gauguin suggests the loss of innocence. He was deeply disappointed by Tahiti, where he had moved from Paris, hoping to find a primitive and unspoilt paradise. Instead, he found a society marred by corruption and colonialism.

The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)

London


Date

1897

Medium

oil on canvas

Measurements

H 60.5 x W 116 cm

Accession number

P.1932.SC.163

Acquisition method

gift from Samuel Courtauld, 1932

Work type

Painting


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The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)

Somerset House, Strand, London, Greater London WC2R 0RN England

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