To Find Paradise, Gauguin Searched Within

By Jennifer Wolcott writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, February 27, 2004 | Go to article overview

To Find Paradise, Gauguin Searched Within


Jennifer Wolcott writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


Paul Gauguin wasn't exactly born with a paintbrush in his hand. The Parisian painter was a stockbroker before he took to the canvas in the early 1870s, then in his mid 20s. His success on the trading floor eventually enabled him to turn his hobby as a "Sunday painter" into the full-time career for which he is most celebrated.

Perhaps this first job, with its daily ups and downs, also prepared him for the vicissitudes of his life as an artist.

At any rate, most viewers of the Post Impressionist's work are thankful he didn't stick with stocks. His vivid imagination, bold sense of color, and deeply felt portrayals of subjects both exotic and primitive have put him on many art lovers' list of favorites.

But Gauguin didn't just paint pretty pictures. His work is highly personal, complex, and often enigmatic. He wanted it this way. Not one to make it easy for his viewers, he asked many questions and provided few answers. A historical exhibition now on view at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is, in part, an attempt to answer some of these questions.

Perhaps the most famous questions posed by Gauguin form the title of his monumental work "D'ou venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Ou allons- nous?" ("Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?")

This stunning painting, which the MFA acquired for $80,000 in 1936, is the centerpiece of "Gauguin Tahiti" and what director Malcolm Rogers calls the exhibition's "intellectual stimulus."

The masterpiece daunted critics of Gauguin's own day - but he was thrilled with it. In a letter to a friend, he wrote: "This canvas surpasses all my preceding ones ... I shall never do anything better, or even like it."

"Gauguin Tahiti" is the result of an international collaboration between the MFA and its French counterparts, the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, and the Reunion des Musees Nationaux. It includes 150 works by Gauguin - not only paintings, but also wood sculptures, drawings, prints, illustrated manuscripts, and decorative art objects.

Most of the works in the exhibit were produced in Tahiti, or what Gauguin called his "Studio of the Tropics. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

To Find Paradise, Gauguin Searched Within
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.