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19.10.03

Gauguin—Tahiti at the Grand Palais (Part 3 of 3)

This is the conclusion of my observations on the exhibit Gauguin—Tahiti: l'atelier des tropiques at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais in Paris, where it will be until January 4, 2004. From there it will travel to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where it will show from February 29 to June 20, 2004.

Paul Gauguin, Nave nave mahana, 1896, Musée des Beaux Arts, LyonThe remaining rooms of the exhibit are on the lower floor of the Grand Palais, reached by a spiral staircase. These rooms contain artwork made during Gauguin's return to France in 1893 to 1895, as well as in the final rooms his second stay back in Tahiti from 1895 to 1901 and the final years in Atuona, one of the Marquesas, from 1901 to his death in 1903. (See my comments on his years in the Marquesas in a post on September 24, The Marquesas.) The paintings in the exhibit from this period include:

Mahana no atua (God's day, 1894, Art Institute of Chicago)
Tarari maruru (Landscape with two goats, 1897, State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg)
The Harvest (Man picking fruit from a tree, 1897, State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg)
• Te bourao II (Large tree, 1897, from a private collection)
Vairumati (1897, Musée d'Orsay)
• Baigneuses à Tahiti (1897-1898, Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham)
• Femme tahitienne I (1898, Ny Carlsberg-Glyptotek, Copenhagen)
Deux tahitiennes (1889, Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Faa iheihe (Tahitian Pastoral, 1898, Tate Gallery of Art, London)
Rare te hiti aaruu (The idol, 1898, State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg)
Te pape nave nave (Delicious water, 1898, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)
D'où venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Où allons-nous? (1897-1898, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
Te vaa (The Canoe, 1896, State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg)
No teaha oe riri (Why are you angry?, 1896, Art Institute of Chicago)
Nave nave mahana (Delicious Day, 1896, Musée des Beaux Arts, Lyon)
Te rerioa (The Dream, 1897, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London)
Ea haere ia oe (Where are you going?, 1892, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart)
Le cheval blanc (1898, Musée d'Orsay)
Marquisien à la cape rouge (1902, Musée d'Art Moderne, Liège)
Et l'or de leur corps (1901, Musée d'Orsay)
Rupe rupe (Basket of fruit, 1898, Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow)
Fleurs de tournesol dans un fauteuil (Sunflowers in an armchair, 1901, State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg)
• Wood panels for Maison du Jouir (1901-1902, Musée d'Orsay) (another set in Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
Contes barbares (1902, Museum Folkwang, Essen)

After gorging myself on Gauguin's Tahiti paintings, I crossed the Seine to take the RER back out to Versailles one last time. The bridge that crosses from the Grand Palais to Les Invalides is the Pont Alexandre III, a 19th-century academic confection built from 1897 to 1900 and probably representative of precisely the sort of art that Gauguin fled when he returned to Tahiti for good.

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