Suburb under Snow (Winter Day), 1886
Oil on canvas
28 1/4 x 22 in.
Aaron M. and Clara Weitzenhoffer Bequest, 2000
Having begun to paint in the early 1870s, Gauguin became a pupil and close associate of Pissarro, who inspired Gauguin to adopt an Impressionist style with short brushstrokes and an emphasis on light and color. Gauguin showed in every Impressionist exhibition, from the fourth in 1879 through the final, eighth, which took place in 1886, a few months after this snow scene was painted.
Gauguin struggled financially after losing his job as a stockbroker following the 1882 market crash. In 1873, he had married a Danish woman, Mette Gad, and in late 1884 he moved with his family to Copenhagen, where his in-laws lived. However, the Danes were not receptive to his art, and in June of 1885, Gauguin returned to Paris. Copenhagen is dated 1886, so presumably it was painted with the aid of studies made in the winter of the previous year.
Later, during travels to the village of Pont-Aven in Brittany and to Tahiti, Gauguin would depart from an Impressionist style.
The Impressionists, and especially Monet, Pissarro, and Sisley, often painted winter landscapes or, as they called them, effets de neige ("effects of snow").