For the first time in 40 years, the legendary Post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin is the subject of a major retrospective in New York City.
Gauguin in New York Collections: The Lure of the Exotic includes more than 100 works in all media, oil on canvas, sculpture, ceramics, sketches, wood carvings, and prints, spanning Gauguin's entire career, from the 1870s until his death on the South Pacific island, Hiva Oa, in 1903.
Gauguin is best known for his innovative use of bright colors, experimental style and his exotic scenes of the South Pacific. Nearly a hundred years after his death, he remains one of the superstars of the art world. Exhibitions of his art still draw huge audiences.
Exhibition co-curator Susan Alyson Stein says this collection is a testament to the staying power of Gauguin, whom she calls "a remarkably fascinating figure" in the history of art.
"The works in this exhibition, which really cover the full sweep of his career, from an 1877 bust of his son Emil through a Marquesan landscape done at the end of his career, really give a sense of the protean nature of his genius in all media," Ms. Stein said. "And, at the same time, the interest and the fascination that he has sustained for generations of admirers universally and, indeed, on this side of the Atlantic."
The work is arranged chronologically, and is complemented by various pieces of memorabilia, including several letters. The last entry in the exhibit is, in fact, a long, rambling letter Gauguin wrote a month before he died of syphilis at the age of 54, recounting an unpleasant encounter he had with local authorities.
Ms. Stein says many of the items are on display for the first time. But, she says, others are making a return trip to the Metropolitan for the first time since 1959.
"It was a 200 work retrospective organized by the Met and the Art Institute of Chicago, and it was drawn almost exclusively from American collections," she said. "Our present show has about 60 of those same loans. Some are, in fact, in the same hands."
Gauguin in New York Collections: The Lure of the Exotic will remain at the Metropolitan Museum of Art throughout the summer and autumn tourist season, closing October 20.