Paul Gauguin: Annah la Javanaise

by Jerry Ratch



It's the outrage of the red monkey at her feet,

and the nude thirteen-year-old woman sitting upright

in the blue velvet chair, and the hints of blue at her navel,

and at her lips and belly and crotch, that so upset Paris.


Gauguin had his nerve. The red looped earrings she is

wearing, the same outrageous color as the monkey

(whose mask is blue). And the blue of that chair,

outlined by the stark black thick wood framing her body,

with two carved figures under her hands; a blue

that vibrates against the background of pink.


A modest black and white domino pattern forming

the ground line, and purple and violet shadow

spreading on the ground beneath her chair,

so that only the bottom right corner of the picture

has a brilliant yellow light, in which the impudent red monkey

dips his foot.