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David Zwirner Books

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Paperback, 4.25 x 7 in. / 56 pgs / 5 color.

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Catalog: FALL 2016 p. 20   

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ISBN 9781941701393 TRADE
List Price: $12.95 CDN $16.95

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Published as a stand-alone text in English for the first time, Paul Gauguin's invective against criticism and the art world

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DAVID ZWIRNER BOOKS

Ramblings of a Wannabe Painter

By Paul Gaugin. Introduction and translation by Donatien Grau.

“People tell me I’m not Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Puvis de Channes--but I already know that! Why tell me?” --Paul Gauguin

“Criticism is our censorship….” So begins one of the greatest invectives against criticism ever written by an artist. Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) wrote “Racontars de Rapin” only months before he died in 1903, but the essay remained unpublished until 1951. Through discussions of numerous artists, both his contemporaries and predecessors, Gauguin unpacks what he viewed as the mistakes and misjudgments behind much of art criticism, revealing not only how wrong critics’ interpretations have been, but also what it would mean to approach art properly--to really look.

This new translation by French writer and academic Donatien Grau includes an introduction that situates the essay within Gauguin’s written oeuvre, as well as a selection of works to illustrate the text itself. Through Gauguin’s final piece of writing we see the artist in the full throes of passion--for his work, for his art, for the art of others and against anyone who would stand in his way.

As the inaugural publication in David Zwirner Books’ new Ekphrasis reader series, Ramblings of a Wannabe Painter sets a perfect tone for the books to come. Poised between writing, art and criticism, Gauguin brings together many different worlds, all of which should be considered for any meaningful discussion of art. With the express hope of encouraging open exchange between the world of writing and that of the visual arts, David Zwirner Books is proud to be presenting this new edition of a lost masterpiece.


Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) is one of the most significant French artists of the late nineteenth century, widely recognized for his contributions to postimpressionism. Gauguin’s work is held in museum collections worldwide, and his notebooks and travel journals have been published and translated into many languages.

Donatien Grau is a member of New College, University of Oxford. An editor-at-large of Purple Fashion magazine, a contributing editor of Flash Art International, he is the author of numerous essays on modern and contemporary art. Twice a guest researcher at the Getty Research Institute, he has dedicated a significant part of his scholarly research to the late nineteenth and early twentieth–century literary and artistic moment.

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

Hyperallergic

Thomas Micchelli

The translation otherwise brings the flamboyant, abrasive, and highly distractible spirit of Gauguin roaring back to life.

Artnet

Jonathon Sturgeon

. . . amusing, memorable books. . .

Art Review

David Terrien

. . . overlooked masterpiece. . .

The Brooklyn Rail

Alyssa Collura

. . . offers an unfiltered look into the provocative mind of Paul Gauguin. . .

Brooklyn Rail

Alyssa Collura

Ramblings of a Wannabe Painter is an authentic mouthpiece for the soul of modern art.

Ramblings of a Wannabe Painter

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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

MADDIE GILMORE | DATE 12/16/2016

Paul Gauguin: Ramblings of a Wannabe Painter

Paul Gauguin: Ramblings of a Wannabe Painter


"It's funny – not that funny."


Ramblings of a Wannabe Painter, written in 1903 by Paul Gauguin just months before his death, may seem like an absurd title to the contemporary reader. Even in his own time Gauguin was a painting superstar, garnering both the fame and mythology of the wandering artist who shuns civilization in favor of more "authentic" experiences. If Gauguin is a "wannabe painter," the reader asks herself, what am I?
continue to blog


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Ramblings of a Wannabe Painter

RAMBLINGS OF A WANNABE PAINTER

By Paul Gaugin. Introduction and translation by Donatien Grau.

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