Gauguin from money man to myth maker, show says

Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:33pm EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - He abandoned life as a stockbroker after the 1882 stock market crash and had an eye for self-promotion -- a major London exhibition on Paul Gauguin this autumn will aim to show the artist in a thoroughly modern light.

More than 100 works by the celebrated French painter will be gathered from collections around the world for "Gauguin: Maker of Myth" at Tate Modern in what has already been billed by critics as the "event of the year" on the British art scene.

Organizers unveiling the lineup and themes to be explored at the show, which will run from September 30-January 16, 2011, were bold in their claims for the first major British show dedicated to the artist in more than 50 years.

"In contrast to all these (other) exhibitions, the distinctive quality of the Tate Modern show will be its ambition ... in representing all aspects of Gauguin's artistic output," Christine Riding, co-curator of the show, said on Monday.

One idea that will run throughout the exhibition, however, will be the importance of myths to an artist who famously went into self-imposed exile in Tahiti where he immersed himself in the fast-disappearing Maori culture.


But his tendency to create and explore myths came not only from extensive travel and exposure to other cultures but also from his desire to create a persona -- part true and part invented -- around himself.

"Each major canvas he would declare to be better than anything he'd done before," said Belinda Thomson, another curator on the show, explaining Gauguin's tendency to self-mythologize.   Continued...

<p>A woman looks at Paul Gauguin's painting "Deux femmes" at an exhibition in Hong Kong January 17, 2006. REUTERS/Paul Yeung</p>