Gauguin: Maker of Myth

Gauguin: Maker of Myth

by Belinda Thomson
     
 

This major reevaluation of Paul Gauguin presents the artist and his work in an entirely new light. The vivid, unnaturalistic colors and bold outlines of Gauguin's paintings and the strong, semiabstract quality of his woodcuts had a profound effect on the development of twentieth-century art. Here readers will discover why Gauguin was one of the most important

Overview

This major reevaluation of Paul Gauguin presents the artist and his work in an entirely new light. The vivid, unnaturalistic colors and bold outlines of Gauguin's paintings and the strong, semiabstract quality of his woodcuts had a profound effect on the development of twentieth-century art. Here readers will discover why Gauguin was one of the most important artists behind European modernism—yet one who also challenged its very tenets. Because while modern art largely rejected narrative, for Gauguin it remained central.

Gauguin is the first book to fully examine his use of stories and myth to give powerful narrative tension to his paintings at a time when other painters thought storytelling was dead. Gauguin's life in French Polynesia is often portrayed as a quest for the other, with the artist as the romantic explorer encountering primitive cultures for the first time. In fact, he was deeply immersed in world art and a great reader of Polynesian stories and myths. This book cuts through the mystique surrounding Gauguin—one the artist himself cultivated—to show how he self-mythologized, presenting himself to the world as a suffering, Christ-like figure.

Stunningly illustrated and unprecedented in scope, Gauguin features more than 200 museum-quality reproductions of paintings, works on paper, ceramics, woodcarvings, and writings, including Gauguin's beautifully illustrated letters and books.

Exhibition Schedule:

Tate Modern, London

September 30, 2010 - January 16, 2011

National Gallery of Art, Washington

February 27 - June 5, 2011

Editorial Reviews

This revelatory Princeton University Press coffee-table book serves as the companion volume to the Tate Gallery's eponymous exhibit, the first major London show devoted to Paul Gauguin in over half a century. Gauguin specialist Belinda Thomson, the curator of the exhibition, presides over this fresh reexamination of the artist's narrative strategies. Her commentary and the book's extensive illustrations are supplemented by essays from half a dozen scholars. Authoritative; surely one of the gifts of the season. Editor's recommendation.

Seattle Times
This handsome volume is a good primer on what, exactly, French artist Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) was up to when he permanently ditched Paris for Tahiti and the Marquesas in 1895. It's a catalog for an exhibit of 155 pieces organized by London's Tate Modern, coming to the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., in February, and it gives as much attention to Gauguin's sculpture as to his paintings. The accompanying essays illuminate the contradictions of a man who styled himself as a 'primitive' but relied on the efficiencies of the French colonial postal service to get his work back to potential buyers in Paris on a regular basis. An excellent piece by Charles Forsdick explains the crucial role French doctor Victor Segalen played in rescuing Gauguin's last works after his death.
— Michael Upchurch
Montreal Gazette
A spectacular picture book. Even reproduced, Gauguin's vibrant post-Impressionist palette delights with unexpected harmonies. This exhibition catalogue offers 250 reproductions from a wonderful show at London's Tate Gallery. It's the complete Gauguin shebang—his Tahitian girls, his stilllifes and their avant-garde experiments with perspective, his French country scenes, his carved-wood statues and bas-reliefs, even his ghoulish self-portrait as a stoneware mug. Scholarly essays examine how Gauguin promoted his larger-than-life image of the artist as superior to spiritually bereft Europeans.
— Victor Swoboda
ForeWord Reviews
This beautiful publication accompanies the current Tate Modern exhibition which is also scheduled for the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. The book is stunningly illustrated with more than 200 full color reproductions of paintings, works on paper, ceramics, woodcarvings, writings, sourcebooks, journals, letters, and personal effects. While Gauguin's paintings are frequently reproduced, often in larger formats, Gauguin: Maker of Myth is unusual in its inclusion of sourcebook material, not all of which is included in the exhibition itself. Readers looking only for coffee-table-sized reproductions of Gauguin's more famous works should look elsewhere. This book speaks more directly to artists, teachers, and students who are seeking insight into Gauguin's process of developing a body of work and identity as an artist. Images of cups, wood carvings, and other oddments that this book includes are difficult to find in other publications. Gauguin: Maker of Myth unfolds a wonderful body of works and research for artists, historians, and art lovers. The book is beautifully designed and liberally illustrated with an attention that assists the reader in moving swiftly though a dense and plentiful history spanning several art movements.
— Pamela Ayres
Seattle Times - Michael Upchurch
This handsome volume is a good primer on what, exactly, French artist Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) was up to when he permanently ditched Paris for Tahiti and the Marquesas in 1895. It's a catalog for an exhibit of 155 pieces organized by London's Tate Modern, coming to the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., in February, and it gives as much attention to Gauguin's sculpture as to his paintings. The accompanying essays illuminate the contradictions of a man who styled himself as a 'primitive' but relied on the efficiencies of the French colonial postal service to get his work back to potential buyers in Paris on a regular basis. An excellent piece by Charles Forsdick explains the crucial role French doctor Victor Segalen played in rescuing Gauguin's last works after his death.
Montreal Gazette - Victor Swoboda
A spectacular picture book. Even reproduced, Gauguin's vibrant post-Impressionist palette delights with unexpected harmonies. This exhibition catalogue offers 250 reproductions from a wonderful show at London's Tate Gallery. It's the complete Gauguin shebang—his Tahitian girls, his stilllifes and their avant-garde experiments with perspective, his French country scenes, his carved-wood statues and bas-reliefs, even his ghoulish self-portrait as a stoneware mug. Scholarly essays examine how Gauguin promoted his larger-than-life image of the artist as superior to spiritually bereft Europeans.
ForeWord Reviews - Pamela Ayres
This beautiful publication accompanies the current Tate Modern exhibition which is also scheduled for the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. The book is stunningly illustrated with more than 200 full color reproductions of paintings, works on paper, ceramics, woodcarvings, writings, sourcebooks, journals, letters, and personal effects. While Gauguin's paintings are frequently reproduced, often in larger formats, Gauguin: Maker of Myth is unusual in its inclusion of sourcebook material, not all of which is included in the exhibition itself. Readers looking only for coffee-table-sized reproductions of Gauguin's more famous works should look elsewhere. This book speaks more directly to artists, teachers, and students who are seeking insight into Gauguin's process of developing a body of work and identity as an artist. Images of cups, wood carvings, and other oddments that this book includes are difficult to find in other publications. Gauguin: Maker of Myth unfolds a wonderful body of works and research for artists, historians, and art lovers. The book is beautifully designed and liberally illustrated with an attention that assists the reader in moving swiftly though a dense and plentiful history spanning several art movements.
From the Publisher
"This handsome volume is a good primer on what, exactly, French artist Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) was up to when he permanently ditched Paris for Tahiti and the Marquesas in 1895. It's a catalog for an exhibit of 155 pieces organized by London's Tate Modern, coming to the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., in February, and it gives as much attention to Gauguin's sculpture as to his paintings. The accompanying essays illuminate the contradictions of a man who styled himself as a 'primitive' but relied on the efficiencies of the French colonial postal service to get his work back to potential buyers in Paris on a regular basis. An excellent piece by Charles Forsdick explains the crucial role French doctor Victor Segalen played in rescuing Gauguin's last works after his death."—Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times

"A spectacular picture book. Even reproduced, Gauguin's vibrant post-Impressionist palette delights with unexpected harmonies. This exhibition catalogue offers 250 reproductions from a wonderful show at London's Tate Gallery. It's the complete Gauguin shebang—his Tahitian girls, his stilllifes and their avant-garde experiments with perspective, his French country scenes, his carved-wood statues and bas-reliefs, even his ghoulish self-portrait as a stoneware mug. Scholarly essays examine how Gauguin promoted his larger-than-life image of the artist as superior to spiritually bereft Europeans."—Victor Swoboda, Montreal Gazette

"This beautiful publication accompanies the current Tate Modern exhibition which is also scheduled for the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. The book is stunningly illustrated with more than 200 full color reproductions of paintings, works on paper, ceramics, woodcarvings, writings, sourcebooks, journals, letters, and personal effects. While Gauguin's paintings are frequently reproduced, often in larger formats, Gauguin: Maker of Myth is unusual in its inclusion of sourcebook material, not all of which is included in the exhibition itself. Readers looking only for coffee-table-sized reproductions of Gauguin's more famous works should look elsewhere. This book speaks more directly to artists, teachers, and students who are seeking insight into Gauguin's process of developing a body of work and identity as an artist. Images of cups, wood carvings, and other oddments that this book includes are difficult to find in other publications. Gauguin: Maker of Myth unfolds a wonderful body of works and research for artists, historians, and art lovers. The book is beautifully designed and liberally illustrated with an attention that assists the reader in moving swiftly though a dense and plentiful history spanning several art movements."—Pamela Ayres, ForeWord Reviews

Library Journal
This book accompanies an exhibition at the Tate Modern, London, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Seven essays by art historians focus on Gauguin's use of stories and myth in his works. Thomson (Van Gogh Paintings: The Masterpieces) shows how Gauguin bucked the trend of the formal emphasis in late 19th-century art and reinvested his work with narrative meaning. Essays also explore how through Gauguin's writings, travels, and reading, he purposefully constructed his reputation and eventual myth. One essay also explores the artist's leftist political leanings as another reason he fled western Europe. Lastly, Gauguin's reception in England is examined, where the ultimate incarnation of his myth was created in English novelist W. Somerset Maugham's The Moon and Sixpence. The section of plates divides the images by subject, with accompanying texts on themes such as "Identity and Self-Mythology" and "Fictions of Femininity." VERDICT This book is recommended for readers interested in late 19th-century French art who possess some background in the subject, as the essays are specialized and scholarly in tone.—Sandra Rothenberg, Framingham State Univ., MA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691148861
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
10/25/2010
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
755,661
Product dimensions:
9.90(w) x 11.70(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

Hollis Clayson
These essays break new ground and exemplify a very high order of rigor and creativity. Gauguin repositions the artist as a canny and deliberate agent of his own reputation and eventual mythos. The Gauguin who emerges here is not merely the familiar consummate European male avatar of a primitivizing optic and the colonial gaze. This Gauguin is a reader and thinker.
Hollis Clayson, Northwestern University

Meet the Author

Belinda Thomson is an independent scholar and honorary fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Her books include "Van Gogh Paintings: The Masterpieces". Tamar Garb is the Durning Lawrence Professor in the History of Art at University College London. Charles Forsdick is the James Barrow Professor of French at the University of Liverpool. Vincent Gille works at the Pavillon des Arts in Paris. Linda Goddard is lecturer in art history at the University of St. Andrews. Philippe Dagen teaches contemporary art at the Sorbonne and is a critic for "Le Monde".

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >