Bathers in Tahiti

Image credit: The Henry Barber Trust, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham

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This image of bathers in an exotic landscape of fiery hues was painted on Gauguin’s second trip to Tahiti. It is one of eight paintings which relate to the monumental canvas 'Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?', a summation of Gauguin’s philosophy of life, civilisation and sexuality. The paintings were described as ‘fragmentary replicas of and studies for’ the larger work when they were exhibited together in 1898. In this case, the figure to the left is enlarged from the part of the landscape background which deals with our fate – where are we going?

Bathers in Tahiti




oil on sacking


H 73.3 x W 91.8 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased, 1949

Work type


Inscription description

Signed and dated: P. Gauguin 97


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Normally on display at

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts

University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands B15 2TS England

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