Paul Gauguin at the Tate Modern, London

Paul Gauguin  Self Portrait With Hat reproduction painting
Paul Gauguin, Self Portrait With Hat

Paintings of Modernist Pioneer, Paul Gauguin at the Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom

I particularly enjoyed reading Andrew Lambirth’s review of the new Paul Gauguin exhibition at the Tate Modern in London. The man has left me salivating with envy as I am unlikely to be able to visit London, over Christmas, to see the paintings on show.

Lambirth’s advice is to not to be influenced by the romantic notions we might have of Gauguin’s life as the “romantic bohemian who escaped to the South Seas”, but to keep his work and “compelling originality” at the forefront of our attention. For those people fortunate enough to be able to go, the exhibition promises a great deal.

He pushes on to see a superb painting of a ham, from 1889 - “the worn yet blazing orange background flaring against the duller red of the meat and its encircling creamy white fat”. Of further note in the same room, (number 2) of the Tate Modern, is “Still Life With Profile of Laval”, although less so, “Still Life With Flowers and Idol”, which he describes as “oddly seductive” - yet somehow “off”.

Which only serves to whet my appetite to visit still more - ugh!

Also in room 2 is a “sinister” and “unsettling” double portrait of his two children together with his artist friend, the Dutch painter, Meijer de Haan.

Paul Gauguin  Spirit of the Dead Keeps Watch  Reproduction oil on canvas paintings for sale
“The Spirit of the Dead Keeps Watch”

The exhibition rooms begin with a series of self portraits, painted from 1876 to 1903. There’s a classic late figure painting, “The Spirit of the Dead Keeps Watch”, including a Gauguin self portrait with a section piece of the same painting reversed on the wall behind him. This, according to Lambirth, perpetuates the myth of the individual above the art. He recommends moving through to the rest of the paintings in pursuit of “the art” itself.

Nevermore O Tahiti  Paul Gauguin Reproduction Paintings For Sale
“Nevermore O Tahiti”

Paul Gauguin reproduction paintings for sale
Tahitian Pastoral Scene

Room 5 of the exhibition contains a selection of Paul Gauguin landscapes including; “Tahitian Landscape” (1891) and “Harvest: Le Pouldu” (1890) - yet lurking among this beauty is the contrast of the more sinister and symbolic aspect of Paul Gauguin’s paintings, in the form of “Loss of Virginity”.

Paul Gauguin  The Yellow Christ Reproduction paintings for sale
“The Yellow Christ”

Room 6 is temporary home to a feast of Paul Gauguin’s religious themed paintings; “The Yellow Christ”, “Breton Calvary” (The Green Christ), and “Vision of the Sermon” cleverly arranged with the “Christ in the Gardens of Olives”.

Paul Gauguin -  Are You Jealous?
“Are You Jealous?”

Lambirth continues through to Room 9, where what many critics regard as his best paintings, are to be found, including; “The Ancestors of Tehamana”,  “Nevermore O Tahiti”, “What! Are You Jealous?”, “Where Are You Going?” and “Brooding Woman”. Before leaving there is also a further selection of late works by Gauguin, including “Delightful Days”, “The Ford” and “Tahitian Pastoral”.

Paul Gauguin
“Woman Holding A Fruit - Where Are You Going?”

The exhibition sounds a delight - and I haven’t even mentioned the displays of Gauguin drawings, water colors and carvings.

Christmas in London - now there’s a thought. An afternoon at the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, followed by “afternoon tea” and a pint of English beer in the evening. The children will be delighted to receive some great art postcards for Christmas - much more original than expensive presents - and the money saved could stretch to a lovely hotel in Covent Garden!

Museum quality oil on canvas reproductions of Paul Gauguin’s paintings (including all those in the Tate Modern exhibition) are available through Soho-Art.

Paul Gauguin at the Tate Modern, London - Exhibition Ends January 16, 2011