48" x 60"
Collection of Sherie and Horst Schulze
This is my anti-colonialist painting. Renoir painted the affluent young bohemians and bourgeoisie of his time as they wished to see themselves in his famous Luncheon of the Boating Party. His friend and benefactor, the painter Caillebotte, smoking, leans on the back of a chair at the right. Renoir's future wife sits at the left, playing with a little dog. Charming as it seems, it was the sort of society that Gauguin tried to put behind him when he left France, looking to find in Tahiti a purer, more innocently savage state of nature. He arrived late. The French colonial authorities and missionaries had already been happily about their work of repressing, converting, and covering up bodies, a process Gauguin did his best to reverse. By joining the two worlds, my painting represents the familiar phenomenon of older, or less "civilized," cultures seeking to survive by displaying their picturesqueness to the tourists. Now, of course, it's the Tahitians who would look most at home on the beach at St. Tropez.