The Remarkable Exhibitions of Paul Gauguin

Written by Abby Hill
3 mins, 40 secs Read
Updated On December 15, 2022

When thinking about the life of an artist, one critically important yet often overlooked part of the job is the art exhibition. An art exhibition is a place where an artist presents their collection of artworks to potential buyers and gets their name out there for future jobs.

In most cases nowadays, the paintings of famous artists from history are scattered all over the place and are coveted by art museums as prized possessions. Because of this reason, it can be hard to really appreciate an artist or truly learn what their artistic message is. This is where the art exhibition comes back into play.

Often art exhibitions will tour different venues and locations to celebrate the entire body of the artist’s work. One such artist revered for his extraordinary exhibitions was Paul Gauguin. Over time, there have been countless exhibitions dedicated to the French artist’s spectacular paintings. The following is a look at several of the finest.

The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Gauguin Portraits

The Credit Suisse exhibition in the National Gallery in London, England, from October 2019 to late January 2020. It was the first-ever exhibition to be dedicated to the portraits of Gauguin and had the theme of highlighting the impact and evolution of both Gauguin’s style and the genre as a whole.

The exhibition displayed over forty pieces of Gauguin’s artwork, including his most famous portrait paintings and his lesser-known and rarer portraits. The exhibition also included some of the French painter’s drawings, sketches, and even some three-dimensional works.

The British art museum collaborated with the Canadian National gallery to make the ambitious exhibition a reality and a success. The exhibition also coincided with the release of a new biopic depicting Gauguin’s life and his life in Tahiti.

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Gauguin: A Spiritual Journey

Gauguin: A Spiritual Journey was another ambitious exhibition from November 2018 to June 2019 and toured between the Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The two museums collaborated with the hope of shedding new light on Gauguin’s love of Polynesian culture and his unique perspective on it, being that he was an outsider. The exhibit even included some of Gauguin’s letters and photographs from his time there.

The exhibition didn’t just solely focus on Gauguin’s time in French Polynesia. It also showed work from his entire career and showcased the defining features of his work. In addition, this exhibition beautifully portrayed the spiritual side of Gauguin’s art and the spiritual side of the Polynesian people.

Gauguin: Metamorphoses

The goal of this unique exhibition was to show the masses Gauguin’s most extravagant and rare drawings and prints for the first time. The exhibit also aimed to show how these lesser-known works contributed and related to Gauguin’s more well-known paintings and sculptures.

Held in the MoMA museum in New York City in 2014, the exhibit showcased one hundred and fifty different pieces ranging from drawings to wood and ceramic sculptures. The exhibit was praised for highlighting another side to Gauguin and providing a deeper look into his mind and private nuisances.

The MoMA museum has dedicated similar exhibits to other great artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Henri Matisse and is famed for being one of the largest modern art museums in the world. For French painter Paul Gauguin, the metamorphoses exhibit achieved its goal of showing the subtler side of the artist’s genius.

Gauguin: Maker of Myth

Gauguin: Maker of Myth was an art exhibition held in the Tate Museum in London, England, in 2011 from February to June. Unlike some other exhibitions, which focused on a specific aspect of Gauguin’s work, Maker and Myth was an all-encompassing project that portrayed all facets of the French artist’s art.

Over one hundred pieces of art were displayed during the exhibition, including portraits, landscapes, and still-life paintings from Gauguin’s entire artistic career. One of the many aims of the exhibition was to explore Gauguin’s usage of mythological and religious motifs. This was a topic also shared in a book about Gauguin of the same title as the exhibit.

Elements of these motifs were said to be found in the sculptures and prints on display. With over 170,000 people viewing the exhibition, it was a great success and one of the most popular exhibits in recent times.

The Volpini Exhibition 1889

The Volpini exhibition was an exhibit put together by Gauguin himself alongside a group of his artist friends. It was held in the Café des Arts in Paris, France, to showcase the new and exciting styles of the Impressionist movement.

The exhibition featured well-known modern artists such as Charles Laval and Emile Schuffenecker. Gauguin also wanted Vincent Van Gogh to be featured in the exhibition as the two were friends, but the Dutch artist did not attend.

For whatever reason, Gauguin also made sure that artwork from the Neo-Impressionist movement that included famed artists such as George Seurat and Paul Signac were to be excluded from the exhibition. However, even if these artists had participated, the exhibition received no coverage from the media and was ultimately a failure.

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For French artist Paul Gauguin, the role of modern-day art exhibitions proved incredibly successful in bringing mass attention to his incredible artwork and provided tremendous insight into learning more about the artist. Keep your eyes open for an upcoming Gauguin exhibition in an art gallery near you.

Author: Abby Hill
It's actually quite interesting to be working in every niche. You get to know so much about literally everything. And not just writing, storytelling is also something I find incredibly amazing and enchanting. I can legit start anywhere and anytime, all I need is some concentrated listeners haha!