Woman with a fan, wasa Post-Impressionist painting created by Paul Gauguin in 1902.

The paintingfeatures a young woman sitting in a wooden chair and holding up a fan. Whenlooking at the painting, you can notice the defined shades which indicate thephotographic source from which it was painted. It is suggested that this womanis the transposed representation of Vairaumati, who was the central figure in aMaori myth about immortality.

Paul Gauguin was in a state of deterioratinghealth when he moved to the Marquesas Islands in 1901 but he still managed tobe very productive in those final years of his life and created some of hismost notable work. During the final years of Gauguin’s life, his goal was to builda path to artistic freedom for future generations.Gauguinhad several rifts with Parisian art critics. They believed that his work wasdependent on the poets of the symbolist center he frequented.1However Gauguin believed that transposing the ideas of literature artists wasnot stealing.  His struggle with criticssuch as Émile Bernard, Félix Fénéon andCamille Mauclair eventually pushed him to make the move to the Marquesas in1901 after years of not being financially able.

His idea behind moving to theMarquesas islands was to separate himself from the literary standard but evenafter moving, he had not completely escaped the art critics and continued toreceive negative opinions; this time for creating paintings with names thatdidn’t describe the piece.2Theidentity of the Woman with a Fan, hadonly ever been seen as the beautiful portrait of Tohotaua, based on aphotograph that was taken in the studio of Gauguin, several months before hispassing.3The painting and the photograph are not identical. Many things were alteredwhen put into the painting. There is a resemblance to Tohotaua in herartificial position and the fan remains faithful to the photograph. The fan inthe painting is unaltered from the photograph. It features the French nationalcolours of blue, white and red and was believed to have had two uses, torepresent high class and liberty and to direct the viewer’s attention toTohotaua.

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4  Gauguinadapted certain biblical parables to Oceanian myths and translated Eve and theVirgin Mary into Polynesian archetypes.5 He mixed Christian tales withPolynesian myth by transforming Vairamauti into the new Eve. Eve is often seen asa symbol of rebirth which was important to Gauguin, and he would seek to acknowledgethe myth of Vairamauti at points in his life when death and rebirth were strongin his thoughts.6Thefan that represents freedom suggests thatGauguin was expressing his creative freedomthrough the way that he transformed his paintings of Vairamauti; makingTohotaua the final version of the goddess.7Gauguin’s Vairamauti in comparison to the woman in Woman with a Fan have differences, the most important is that theTohotaua appears to be divine incomparison, depicted almost glowing. When Gauguin moved to the Marquesas, he becamevery intrigued with the Polynesian myth of Vairamauti and transposed her image untilshe became the beautiful goddess in Womanwith a fan. The myth of Vairamauti was coming to an end and that Woman with a Fan is was the finaltransposition of the goddess.

8Afterhis health declined, Gauguin immersed himself in contemplating the fate of thesoul and longevity of art.9 He created memorable photographs that hehoped would crystallize the audacity of his innovations.10 Woman with a Fan is such a unique pieceof artwork that will continue to secure Gauguin a place in the continuum of arthistory. It serves as a beacon to propagate his claims to posterity. 11  Benjamin Wests Bibliography Carson, Hampton L. “The Life and Works ofBenjamin West.” The Pennsylvania Magazineof History and Biography 45, no.

4 (1921): 301-319.Duffy, Michael H. “West’s ‘Agrippina,Wolfe’ and the Expression of Restraint.”Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 58, no. 2 (1995): 207-225. Landis, Charles I. “Benjamin West and theRoyal Academy.

” The Pennsylvania Magazineof History and Biography 50, no. 2 (1926): 134-148. Prown, Jules David. “Benjamin West and theUse of Antiquity.

” American Art 10,no. 2 (Summer 1996): 28-49.Rather, Susan. “Benjamin West, John Galt,and the Biography of 1816.” The Art Bulletin 86, no. 2 (June 2004): 324-345.             Jacques Louis David BibliographyCarrier, David. “The Political Art ofJacques-Louis David and his Modern-Day American Successors.

” Art History 26, no 5 (November 2003):730-751Fleckner,Uwe. “Respiration and Inspiration: Jacques-Louis David’s Imageof Chemist Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and His Wife Marie-Anne.” Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, no 4 (October2014): 545-564Heidi E.Kraus. “David’s Roman “Vedute”.” Studies inEighteenth-Century Culture 38, no. 1 (2009): 173-197. Korshak, Yvonne.

1987. “Paris and Helen byJacques Louis David: choice and judgment on the eve of the French Revolution.” Art Bulletin 69, (March 1987): 102-116Tauber, Christine. “New Identities, New Genalogies: Jacques-Louis David’s ArtisticSelf-Depictions Following Thermidor 9, 1794.” Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 79, no.

3 (July 2016):331-364    1 Gauguin mounted his own campaign to advocate the artist’s right todispose of his sources and inspiration at will. See June Hargrove, “‘Woman with aFan’: Paul Gauguin’s Heavenly Vairaumati – a Parable of Immortality,” 552.2  Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where AreWe Going? was impossible todecipher without its title. See June Hargrove, “‘Woman with a Fan’: Paul Gauguin’s Heavenly Vairaumati – a Parableof Immortality,” 5523 Louis Grelet took thepicture of Tohotaua when visiting Gauguin’s studio in 1902. See June Hargrove,”‘Woman with a Fan’: Paul Gauguin’sHeavenly Vairaumati – a Parable of Immortality,” 555.4 It is suggested thatTphptaua is of higher class because the fan used in the painting is not commonin Polynesia. See June Hargrove “‘Womanwith a Fan’: Paul Gauguin’s Heavenly Vairaumati – a Parable ofImmortality,” 556.

5 -as in Te nave navefenua {Delightful Land) and la Orana Maria {WeGreet Thee Mary). See JuneHargrove “‘Woman with a Fan’: PaulGauguin’s Heavenly Vairaumati – a Parable of Immortality,” 5636 The my of Vairamauti helped Gauguin show the importance oftransposition in his art. See JuneHargrove “‘Woman with a Fan’: PaulGauguin’s Heavenly Vairaumati – a Parable of Immortality,” 558.7 See June Hargrove “‘Woman with a Fan’: Paul Gauguin’sHeavenly Vairaumati – a Parable of Immortality,” 558.8  The myth began to havepersonal meaning to Gauguin, that he linked to a story of rebirth. See June Hargrove “‘Woman with a Fan’: Paul Gauguin’s Heavenly Vairaumati – a Parableof Immortality,” 561.9 He became obsessed with the idea of being forgotten and wrote threebooks in the last year of his life.

SeeJune Hargrove “‘Woman with a Fan’: PaulGauguin’s Heavenly Vairaumati – a Parable of Immortality,” 563.10 See June Hargrove “‘Woman with a Fan’: Paul Gauguin’s HeavenlyVairaumati – a Parable of Immortality,” 563. 11 See June Hargrove “‘Woman with a Fan’: Paul Gauguin’sHeavenly Vairaumati – a Parable of Immortality,”