Cover image for Gauguin Tahiti
Gauguin Tahiti
Shackelford, George T. M., 1955-
Publication Information:
Boston, MA : MFA Pulications, [2004]

Physical Description:
viii, 371 pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
General Note:
"Published in conjunction with the exhibition "Gauguin Tahiti, " organized by the Réunion des Musées Nationaux, the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston."-- verso of t.p.

Exhibition held September 30 2003-January 19, 2004 at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris and at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston on February 29-June 20, 2004.

Includes index.
Introduction / George T. M. Shackelford -- I. The First Polynesian Sojourn, June 1891-June 1893 -- The Paintings of the First Polynesian Sojourn / Claire Freches-Thory -- Gauguin: Artist and Ethnographyer / Philippe Peltier -- Sculpture of the First Voyage / Anne Pingeot -- II. The Return to France, August 1893-June 1895 -- The Exhibition at Durant-Ruel / Claire Frèches-Thory -- Noa Noa: The Voyage to Tahiti / Isabelle Cahn -- "Shapes and Harmonies of Another World" / Barbara Stern Shapiro -- Oviri / Anne Pingeot -- III. The Second Polynesian Sojourn, September 1895-May 1903 -- The Return to Paradise: Tahiti, 1895-1897 / George T. M. Shackelford -- Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we goping? / George T. M. Shackelford -- "I have everything a modest artist could wish" / Barbara Stern Shapiro -- "Catholicism and the modern mind": The painter as writer in late career / Elizabeth C. Childs -- Splendor and misery: Gauguin in the Marquesas Islands / George T. M. Shackelford -- IV: After 1903 -- The House of Pleasure / Anne Pingeot -- Koké and Tépéva: Victor Segalen in Gauguin's Footsteps / Gilles Manceron -- Belated Recognition: Gauguin and France in the twentieth century, 1903-1949 / Isabelle Cahn -- V. Appendixes -- Gauguin in the Vollard Archives / Suzanne Diffre and Marie-Josèphe Lesieur -- Chronology of Gauguin's life, 1848-1903 / Isabelle Cahn and Gloria Groom.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ND553.G27 S45 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



The life of Paul Gauguin is one of the richest and most mythic in the history of Western art. A banker and "Sunday painter," he left behind family and homeland and sailed to the South Seas, seeking a life "in ecstasy, in peace, and for art." Gauguin Tahiti , the first major retrospective of the artist's work in fifteen years, offers an in-depth study of the fabled Polynesian years that have so defined our image of the painter. Alongside essays by leading American and French critics on every aspect of Gauguin's art, from the legendary canvases to his sculptures, ceramics and innovative graphic works, are discussions of the Polynesian society, culture and religion that helped shape them; an in-depth biographical narrative of the artist's life, with the many epiphanies, frustrations and discoveries that make his time in the South Seas one of the most mythologically potent episodes in the history of Western art; and a chronicle of his changing fortunes in the century since his death. At the center of it all is Gauguin's 1897 masterpiece, Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? , the summation and crowning glory of his mature career, presented with unprecedented depth and authority. Over one hundred years later, Gauguin remains one of the most enigmatic and attractive figures of 19th-century art, the very pivot of modernism, and Gauguin Tahiti finally portrays this crucial period of his life in all its color and drama.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

"Perhaps I loved paintings too much," Gauguin was reported to comment in a rare fit of self-incrimination shortly before his death in 1903. These two works commemorate the centenary of his death at age 54 in the Marquesas Islands. Cachin, former director of the Musee d'Orsay, updated her earlier work on Gauguin, first published in 1968, in a large-format volume issued in 1990. The 2004 version is essentially identical to the 1990 edition in text, layout, plates and reproductions, photos, and captions. One new title is added to the bibliography, thus ignoring substantial newer Gauguin research, such as Daniel Wildenstein's two-volume catalogue raisonn? of the paintings. Without significant revisions, it remains a readable and perceptive narrative and critique of Gauguin's much-storied life, career, artistic development, oeuvre in various media, and influences on other artists. The chronology is heavily illustrated with photos, and the color plates are exceptional, even more so here than in the 1990 edition, as high-gloss white paper is used throughout. Gauguin Tahiti pays homage to Gauguin's two long residences in French Polynesia. The exhibit of over 200 paintings, drawings, ceramics, sculptures, and decorative objects-including the revered masterpiece Where Do We Come From?, now hanging in Boston's Museum of Fine Arts-opened at the Grand Palais, Paris, last fall and continues in Boston through June 2004. The delightful and informative catalog concentrates on the works themselves, their power, and the contexts in which they were conceived. Eight scholars, under the direction of Shackelford (chair, art of Europe, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) and Freches-Thory (chief curator, Musee d'Orsay), contribute 16 essays slotted into four sections: "First Polynesian Sojourn (1891-93)," "Return to France (1893-95)," "Second Polynesian Sojourn (1895-1903)," and "After 1903." Nearly every essay could stand alone as a separate journal article. There is considerable new scholarship represented, particularly in the essays that deal with individual works of art and in the final essays detailing Victor Segalen's role in preserving the carved panels from The House of Pleasure and other of Gauguin's Polynesian oeuvre. Isabelle Cahn ably summarizes Gauguin's belated recognition in France in the first half of the 20th century. Cachin's book is an essential purchase for libraries lacking the 1990 edition, while Gauguin Tahiti is an important catalog purchase for all libraries with Western art collections.-Russell T. Clement, Northwestern Univ. Lib., Evanston, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

To commemorate the centenary of Paul Gauguin's death, the Musee d'Orsay (Paris), and the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston) assembled a major exhibition of Gauguin's works from his travels in Polynesia. This catalog effectively documents that exhibition, while summarizing and contributing to the scholarship on a subject that is central to the history of modern art. Gauguin's voyages were the stuff of legend, motivating generations of artists to embrace their "savage" side and to travel. A clear logic guides the engaging presentation of major groups of works through four sections of this catalog: Gauguin's "First Polynesian Sojourn" (1891-93); his return to France and exhibition and publication of those works; his second voyage (1895-1903); and his activities during 1903 (his final year). Superb reproductions include details that shed new light on well-known works. Important new scholarship and analysis shine throughout, especially in essays on Gauguin's writings and Catholicism (Elizabeth Childs) and on his ceramic and wooden sculptures (Anne Pingeot). Significant archival work examines the trade in Gauguin paintings at Vollard's gallery. No bibliography, but useful notes. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and up. J. E. Housefield Texas State University-San Marcos