There is a combination of nature and humanity within this scene, with trees and bushes dominating the foreground, and small houses seen further back. This feels like a typical French village scene and it is easy to understand how a landscape painter could find inspiration here. Gauguin himself was of course much more varied within his career than to be a particular genre specialist, but he still retained good skills within the landscape works that he completed. There is a charming display of greenery across this particular painting, and the involvement of humanity is subtle and none too imposing. Behind the village we find some rolling hills which reach up towards the top of the composition. In the foreground a path creeps past, with a low stone construction marking its boundaries. Most of the scene of the village to the right hand side is limited to the tops of roofs, with the occasional chimney jutting up every now and again.

Pont-Aven is a commune in Brittany, which lies in the far North-West of France. Gauguin would travel around the country seeking out suitable spots to inspire new paintings and drawings and eventually would even go abroad in order to refresh his enthusiasm. His palette was suited to landscape painting, though warmer climates were the most suitable. He loved warm tones of purple and red which could work well against the dominant greens which persisted throughout most of his work in this genre. See for example Road in Tahiti, where all of these tones can be brought in naturally, whilst still remaining fairly faithful to the scene that he would have witnessed at the time. North Europe, however, is not always as sunny and bright, and so Landscape at Pont-Aven is understandably a little more subdued, whilst still being pretty at the same time.

Gauguin would become most famous for his work in Tahiti, perhaps because of the unique nature of these scenes within western art at that time. Some of his classic artworks included the likes of Tahitian Women on the Beach, Two Tahitian Women and When will you Marry? though it is important to recognise all of the different aspects of his career, which the modern media isn't always effective at. You might argue that his work in France helped to build a solid base and prepare him for the most important period in his life, both artistically but also in terms of his personal progression. When you consider the period in which he moved abroad, it is hard to imagine many others doing similar at that time, and even today it would be pretty unusual to relocate to such a different culture.

Landscape at Pont-Aven in Detail Paul Gauguin