Museum Exhibition Catalogues, Monographs, Artist's Projects, Curatorial Writings and Essays
"May the day come—and perhaps soon—when I can flee to the woods on the South Sea island, and live there in ecstasy, in peace and for art. With a new family, far from this European struggle for money. There, in Tahiti, in the silence of the lovely tropical night, I can listen to the sweet murmuring music of my heart, beating in amorous harmony with the mysterious beings of my environment. Free at last, with no money troubles, and able to love, to sing and to die." Excerpt is from a letter that Gauguin wrote to his wife in approximately February of 1891, reproduced from Gauguin Tahiti.
Published by David Zwirner Books. 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 Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) wrote “Racontars de Rapin” only months before he died in 1903, but the essay remained unpublished until 1951.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.
Published by Hatje Cantz. Text by Raphael Bouvier, Lukas Gloor, Sam Keller, Martin Schwander, Alastair Wright.
The Post-Impressionists counted among their number a good many painters who were both determined and unconventional, and who went their own separate aesthetic ways, refusing to be subsumed by any categorization. Like Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin was a particularly uncompromising example of this tendency. His quest for an independent artistic stance and an authentic lifestyle took the former stockbroker from Paris to Brittany before he made the decision to travel to Polynesia. Simplified forms, expressive colors and emphatic two-dimensionality characterize his seminal paintings. Today these count among the world's most treasured artworks. This extensive publication traces Gauguin's artistic development through reproductions of his masterworks of both painting and sculpture—from the multifaceted self-portraits and sacred paintings of his period in Brittany, and the idyllic, wistful paintings and archaic, mystical sculptures from Tahiti, to the late works made during his last years on the Marquesas Islands. In addition to its thorough investigation of Gauguin's multifaceted oeuvre, the volume also analyzes his influence on modern and contemporary artists. Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) was born in Paris and made his first extended voyage in 1866, embarking on a round-the-world journey. He began painting and drawing in 1871, quickly becoming acquainted with the Impressionist movement and attending a private art school. He participated in the fourth Impressionist exhibition (1879), soon after which he met Cézanne, while on holiday in Pontoise. He moved to Tahiti in 1891, where he made some of his best-known works, and died there in 1903.
Published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Edited by Starr Figura. Text by Elizabeth Childs, Hal Foster, Erika Mosier, Lotte Johnson.
Gauguin: Metamorphoses explores the remarkable relationship between Paul Gauguin’s rare and extraordinary prints and transfer drawings, and his better-known paintings and sculptures in wood and ceramic. Created in several discrete bursts of activity from 1889 until his death in 1903, these remarkable works on paper reflect Gauguin’s experiments with a range of media, from radically "primitive" woodcuts that extend from the sculptural gouging of his carved wood reliefs, to jewel-like watercolor monotypes and large mysterious transfer drawings. Gauguin’s creative process often involved repeating and recombining key motifs from one image to another, allowing them to metamorphose over time and across mediums. Printmaking in particular provided him with many new and fertile possibilities for transposing his imagery. Though Gauguin is best known as a pioneer of modernist painting, this publication reveals a lesser-known but arguably even more innovative aspect of his practice. Richly illustrated with more than 200 works, Gauguin: Metamorphoses explores the artist’s radically experimental approach to techniques and demonstrates how his engagement with media other than painting--including sculpture, printmaking and drawing--ignited his creativity. Painter, printmaker, sculptor and ceramicist, Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) left his job as a stockbroker in Paris for a peripatetic life traveling to Martinique, Brittany, Arles, Tahiti and, finally, the Marquesas Islands. After exhibiting with the Impressionists in Paris and acting as a leading voice in the Pont-Aven group, Gauguin’s efforts to achieve a "primitive" expression proved highly influential for the next generation of artists.
Starr Figura is a curator with the Department of Drawings and Prints at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Elizabeth Childs is Department Chair of Art History and Archaeology at Washington University in St. Louis.
Hal Foster is an American art critic, historian and Guggenheim Fellow; he has taught at contemporary art and theory at Cornell University and Princeton University.
Erika Mosier is an associate conservator at The Museum of Modern Art.
Lotte Johnson is a curatorial assistant with the Department of Drawings and Prints at The Museum of Modern Art.
Published by MFA Publications. Text by George T. M. Shackelford.
The life of Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) is one of the richest and most mythic in the history of Western art. Abandoning a career in banking, a family and his homeland, in the last decade of the nineteenth century he sailed from France to the South Seas to seek a life “in ecstasy, in peace and for art.” During his years in Tahiti, Gauguin brought forth a wealth of astonishing paintings, culminating in this monumental meditation on what he called the “ever-present riddle” of human existence posed in the work’s title. This compact introduction to Gauguin’s masterpiece explores its relation to European models as well as to the artist’s own companion pieces.
Published by Ediciones Polígrafa. Text by Stephen F. Eisenman.
From Edvard Munch to Chris Ofili, French painter Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) has exerted a profound influence on artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Gauguin began as an Impressionist, contributing major works to the movement's groundbreaking exhibitions between 1879 and 1886. This concise, beautifully illustrated monograph collects Gauguin's most important works. In addition to his well-known paintings of Tahiti, in which the artist constructed his perfect vision of man's communion with the natural world, the book also includes powerful works that reflect the artist's contact with other seminal early modern masters such as Van Gogh and Cézanne.
Published by MFA Publications. Text by George T.M. Shackelford, Claire Frèches-Thory, et al.
Now in paperback, Gauguin Tahiti offers an in-depth study of the fabled Polynesian years that have so defined our image of the painter. Alongside essays on every aspect of Gauguin's art, from the legendary canvases to his sculptures, ceramics and innovative graphic works, are discussions of the Polynesian society, culture and religion that helped shape them; an in-depth biographical narrative, with the many epiphanies, frustrations and discoveries that make his time in the South Seas one of the most mythologically potent episodes in Western art; and a chronicle of his changing fortunes in the century since his death. At the center of it all is Gauguin's 1897 masterpiece, "Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?," the crowning glory of his mature career, presented with unprecedented depth and authority. Over 100 years later, Gauguin remains one of the most enigmatic and attractive figures of nineteenth-century art, the very pivot of modernism, and Gauguin Tahiti portrays this crucial period of his life in all its color and drama. Of the hardback edition, John Richardson wrote in Vanity Fair: "This excellent catalogue sets the record straight." And writing in the New York Observer, Hilton Kramer declared it, "the most exhaustive account of the period that has ever been attempted in a single survey... well-written, scrupulously documented, and lavishly illustrated."
Published by Hatje Cantz. Text by Agnieszka Juszczak, Heather Lemonedes, Belinda Thomson.
In 1889, Paris hosted the legendary Exposition Universelle (World's Fair), a massive cultural exhibition which transformed the face of French culture to come. The Eiffel Tower was built for it, the composer Claude Debussy first heard Javanese music there, and the painter Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), reacting against his exclusion from its arts component, organized an exhibit called L'Exposition de Peintures du Groupe Impressionniste et Synthésiste, on the walls of the Café Volpini, presenting the newest works by himself and his friends. It was the moment at which he "became Gauguin," for it was here that he premiered what is now known as the Volpini Suite, an amazing portfolio of 11 lithographs printed on radiant canary yellow paper, which marked the coalescence of his motifs (the fruitbearers, the mourning Eve, the woman in the waves) and the commencement of his mature style. The Suite also gives a chronicle of Gauguin's travels in Martinique, Brittany and Arles, and records the constellation of the Pont Aven group. Gauguin reconstructs this landmark exhibition, demonstrating the radicality of the works produced by Gauguin and his friends (Charles Laval, Léon Fauché, Emile Schuffenecker, Louis Anquetin, Georges Daniel, Émile Bernard, Louis Roy and Ludovic Nemo), and examining all paintings, woodcuts, ceramics, prints and drawings by Gauguin related to the show.
This catalog offers a retrospective of Gauguin’s entire artistic career, beginning with his early impressionist works through to his final masterpieces painted on the Marquesas Islands, where Gauguin was inspired to create artworks that are among the most vivid in the history of painting. “Gauguin had clearly decided to violate social norms, destroy consecrated artistic standards and create a scandal wherever he went, and he was successful. He wanted to be a dissenter, a rebel, an outsider and a renegade, but through art he also wanted to rebuild the fantastic images of a Golden Age that had dominated his mind from his first travels around the world.” (From the introductory essay by Eisenman.) This book features a magnificent sampling of the artist’s paintings and an absorbing introduction by Stephen F. Eisenman, a noted scholar on artistic movements of the twentieth century.
Stephen F. Eisenman teaches history of art at the Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He has published several critical studies on modern art and specializes particularly in artistic movements that developed at the end of the twentieth century.
Published by MFA Publications. Essays by George T.M. Shackelford, Claire FrÀches-Thory, et al.
The life of Paul Gauguin is one of the richest and most mythic in the history of Western art. A banker and “Sunday painter,” he left behind family and homeland and sailed to the South Seas, seeking a life “in ecstasy, in peace, and for art.” Gauguin Tahiti, the first major retrospective of the artist's work in fifteen years, offers an in-depth study of the fabled Polynesian years that have so defined our image of the painter. Alongside essays by leading American and French critics on every aspect of Gauguin's art, from the legendary canvases to his sculptures, ceramics and innovative graphic works, are discussions of the Polynesian society, culture and religion that helped shape them; an in-depth biographical narrative of the artist's life, with the many epiphanies, frustrations and discoveries that make his time in the South Seas one of the most mythologically potent episodes in the history of Western art; and a chronicle of his changing fortunes in the century since his death. At the center of it all is Gauguin's 1897 masterpiece, Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?, the summation and crowning glory of his mature career, presented with unprecedented depth and authority. Over one hundred years later, Gauguin remains one of the most enigmatic and attractive figures of 19th-century art, the very pivot of modernism, and Gauguin Tahiti finally portrays this crucial period of his life in all its color and drama.
A century after the death of Paul Gauguin, our knowledge of his life and work has made huge strides. The present work covers the youth and early maturity of this pioneering artist and attempts a summation. It also offers a complete catalogue of the paintings, in the process thoroughly updating the original Wildenstein catalogue of 1964. These first two volumes take the reader through to the end of 1888, a year of profound upheavel in French painting. That was the year in which Gauguin and his friends, by a collaborative effort, arrived at Synthetism and, by rejecting representation in depth, freed Western painting of laws that had governed it since the Renaissance.
Synthetism was also a form of primitivism. The society in which Gauguin lived was--already--a technical and materialist one, which contained the seeds of all that the 20th century became. Gauguin was one of the first to seek, in reaction to this civilization, a form of inspiration deriving from the timeless origins of humanity.
Although these two volumes are the product of rigorous research, they are studded with illustrations and are by no means intended for specialists alone. Commentary on each work offers a step-by-step analysis of Gauguin's artistic development, while reconstructing the artist's experience and the aesthetic and socio-cultural issues of his times.
The lively detail of the chronology describes the events of Gauguin's life, along with those of his friends; thanks to extensive research in unpublished archives, it also casts completely new light on Gauguin's ancestry. The introduction offers an analysis of the period and an in-depth portrait of this great artist. This exhaustive work is carefully designed so that each entry and insert can be read in isolation, though a system of cross-referencing ensures the continuity of the work and restores the overall trajectory of Gauguin's development.
Published by Hatje Cantz. By Paul Gauguin. Edited by Christophe Becker. Contributions by Christofer Conrad, Ingrid Hermann.
This beautifully printed volume devoted to the works completed during Paul Gaugin's first sojourn in Tahiti features over fifty examples of the painting, sculptures, watercolors, drawings, and prints created throughout this pivotal stage.