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Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist

Evening Program

Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Code: 1L0184

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“Self-Portrait with Hat”, 1893–94, by Paul Gauguin

Perhaps best known for his paintings of women in idyllic Tahitian settings, Paul Gauguin was an artist whose career spanned the globe, and whose prolific body of work flouts categorization. An expert at self-promotion, Gauguin shed the social and artistic conventions of the time to defy definition and transform the perception of what it meant to live within the realm of complete artistic freedom.

A recent exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist, explored the artist’s forays into the applied arts, situating them within his radically experimental body of work. Featuring examples of Gauguin’s ceramics, woodcarving, printmaking, and furniture decoration, and their relationship to his canvases, the exhibition acknowledges the artist as a visionary and controversial figure.

The most comprehensive examination of Gauguin’s interest in craft and decorative arts, the exhibition features a diverse selection of his creative output, and is the largest ever public presentation of his existing ceramics and groupings of objects reunited for the first time since leaving his studio.

Hear Gloria Groom, chair of European painting and sculpture at the Art Institute, discuss Gauguin’s radically inventive art-making processes resulting from the material explorations of his many and varied residences from France to the Polynesian islands.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit


S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)