Onthresholds_the garden in winter_Gauguin_IMG_0171

A garden in winter. Why look? Let alone go to the trouble of taking a photograph or painting a picture? What is there to see other than the barren and bleak hauntings of what used to be? What is there to feel other than cold, emptiness? Perhaps Gauguin suggests that we look closer. Perhaps he means to say that the garden in winter is not lifeless, but only standing still for now. Perhaps he means to say by way of composition and color that the garden in winter reminds us of the strong bones that hold things together. I think that the two women in their scarves with their baskets know there is something to behold (as well as chores to be done), and that, yes, civilization looms in the background, the smoke stacks of the factories and the pitched roofs of the houses are undeniable, but they do not tamper the spirit of the garden, even snow covered, even in the dead of winter.

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