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13 Aug, 2010

Getting beyond Gauguin’s Girls

Posted by: admin In: Tate

Christine Riding is co-curator of  Gauguin: Maker of Myth

Christine adds another piece of the jigsaw to her wall of Gauguin images

As you can see from the ‘Gauguin’ wall in my office, I have been busy with the team putting this show together. This is my first exhibition at Tate Modern, and I have spent the last two years living with these strange and wonderful pictures. I feel like I have got to know them really well. And Gauguin too.

Gauguin did many self-portraits including this one done in 1893

Gauguin did many self-portraits including this one done in 1893. Self-portrait with Manao tu papau, 1893, Paris Musée d'Orsay, Photo credit: © RMN (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

Gauguin was one of those annoying people who are naturally gifted: he was a painter, sculptor, swordsman, sailor, musician, insatiable traveller, lover, fighter and even at one point, worked on the Paris stock exchange. He could turn his hand to pretty much anything.

Gauguin did many self-portraits including this one done in 1893

One of Gauguin’s numerous paintings of his Tahitian women: Nevermore O Tahiti, 1897. Courtauld Gallery, London

What is the main thing we generally know about Gauguin?  That he did paintings of Tahiti and that he had Tahitian mistresses. So let’s get that out of the way first…

But I reckon that he was a far more interesting and complicated character than most of us think. He would have been a fascinating person to meet though probably a bit selfish, arrogant – and very argumentative… at least if his letters are anything to go by.

The show opens at the end of September, so I have eight weeks before my wall becomes a ‘real exhibition’. Over that time I hope to give you a peek behind the scenes and let you know about my favourite stories, so please join me and feel free to add comments along the way.

Gauguin: Maker of Myth opens at Tate Modern on 30 September. Book tickets online or become a Tate Member or Tate Patron and visit for free.

Read the original post on The Great Tate Mod Blog

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