Painted in 1892, When will You Marry is a work by one of the greatest French post-impressionist painters of all time, Paul Gauguin.
Translated in French as “Quand te Maries-Tu?” and Tahitian as “Nafea faa Ipoipo” it’s an oil on canvas painting measuring at 101 by 77 centimeters.
Nafea Faa Ipoipo is one of the Paul Gauguin Tahiti paintings. As such, the scene is located in Tahiti. The artist traveled to this beautiful island (the largest in French Polynesia) in 1891.
He made the trip whilst facing financial difficulties as a result of the unpopularity of his art, as well as becoming estranged from his wife.
In his own words, he hoped to find an “Edenic paradise” to create pure “primitive art”. Gauguin considered many of his fellow French primitive painters as “pretenders” – falsely representing cultures and landscapes they’d never actually experienced.
Despite this, Tahiti wasn’t the untouched paradise Gauguin imagined. Many of the country’s native inhabitants suffered from disease brought by European visitors and settlers. Their unique “primitive” culture had been almost completely wiped out.
For this reason, Gauguin’s portraits present a mixture of Tahitian women as nude, clothed in traditional Tahitian garb and Western dresses. In When Will You Marry, the lady at the front appears in traditional clothes. The woman behind her wears a European-style dress, as do the two smaller figures in the background.
Owned by a private family, the painting has changed hands frequently over the years. Sold in February 2015 by the family of Rudolf Staechelin, it was purchased for a staggering $210 million US dollars. The buyer was Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani.
The painting’s title indicates a woman on the brink of marriage. The white “tiare” flower behind her ear furthers this narrative, alongside connotations of chastity and innocence.
The woman in the foreground settles on the boundary between the front and middle ground of the painting. In life, she teeters on the edge of girlhood and marriage.
The woman behind (wearing a high-necked Western dress) sits upright. This posture references those seen in Buddhist art and figurines. Amidst the stillness however, she raises her hand. This gesture is a mudra of threat or warning, providing a sinister overtone to the painting.
Like other Gauguin famous paintings, the artist stylizes and simplifies his sitter’s features. He also inscribed the title on the bottom-right of the canvas. Fascinated by the Tahitian language, short words and phrases appear on several Gauguin artworks.
The painting won little to no acclaim during Gauguin’s lifetime. On returning to France, Gauguin launched an exhibition in 1893.
This “Durand-Ruel” exhibition generated a small number of positive reviews, but little sales. Gauguin put a price of 1,500 francs on When Will You Marry at the exhibition, but no buyers came forward.
Because of this, the painting’s record sale price in 2015 was a relative shock. At this point, the art market was extremely buoyant. The high price is also explained by the painting itself. It’s a wonderful representation of French post-impressionist art, by one of the true experts in color and composition.
Another artwork, Paul Gauguin’s Where Do We Come From had a similar rise to prominence. Sold for just 2,500 French francs in 1901, it passed hands several times during the 1910s and 1920s.
Later purchased by the Marie Harriman Gallery in New York (1936), it enjoyed a surge in popularity alongside other Paul Gauguin art.
Enjoy Paul Gauguin famous paintings and learn more about this fascinating artist.
Gauguin’s famous friendship with Van Gogh is well documented. Gauguin was also friends with Edgar Degas however, other contemporaries such as Pissarro, Renoir and Monet were very critical of his work.
Gauguin Tahiti Paintings comprise some of his finest and most valuable work. Gauguin’s portraits of Tahitian women and everyday Polynesian life dominate the subject matter of his paintings during his time in Tahiti and the Marquesas Islands. Gauguin’s aim was to discover a paradise with the aim of creating primitive art movement paintings.
Paul Gauguin’s most famous painting from his period in Tahiti is probably When Will You Marry? Nafea Faa Ipoipo 1892 This painting was sold in 2015 for around $210m
Gauguin first visited Tahiti in 1891 and the When Will You Marry Me painting was completed in the following year.
Paul Gauguin The Siesta is held by the The Met Fifth Avenue and was acquired in 1993 as the result of a gift from the Leonore Annenberg Collection
Paul Gauguin’s painting Hail Mary, Ia Orana Maria 1891 is a painting in which Gauguin alludes again to his faith and it is considered one of his finest oil paintings.
Gauguin’s legacy is immense and his work was inspirational to many future artists; this can be evidenced particularly in the work of the German Expressionist painters.
Paul Gauguin replica paintings are available in many size options and all of our reproduction oil paintings on canvas are created entirely by hand by one of our resident professional artists.
Reproductions of famous paintings by Paul Gauguin are for sale from our extensive catalog of replica paintings.
We offer a 100% money back guarantee or replacement service. If for any reason you are dissatisfied with your painting please contact us within 7 days of receipt, advising the reason you are unhappy and we will provide you with all the information you need for its return or replacement.
Your painting will be shipped rolled in strong plastic tubing, ready for stretching and/or framing locally. This is the conventional method of transporting hand-painted oil on canvas. Learn more about how your painting is shipped.
Please note that replica oil paintings are finished with an additional 10cm (4") of extra canvas on all sides, allowing ample surplus canvas for stretching and framing.