National Gallery of Art - EXHIBITIONS
Gauguin: Maker of Myth
February 27–June 5, 2011

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery. Please follow the links below for related online resources or visit our current exhibitions schedule.

Related Resources

Exhibition Highlights

Watch the video

Parts 1-4
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Exhibition Brochure
Gauguin: Maker of Myth brochure cover
(PDF 406k)

Purchase the exhibition catalogue

Notable Lecture:
Gauguin's Selves: Visual Identities in the Age of Freud
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Notable Lecture:
Calling the Earth to Witness: Paul Gauguin in the Marquesas
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Notable Lecture: Introduction to the Exhibition— Gauguin: Maker of Myth
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In Conversation:
Gauguin: Maker of Myth
Mary Morton, curator of French paintings, National Gallery of Art, and Belinda Thomson, exhibition guest curator
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Works by
in the Gallery's Collection

Biography of

Online Tour
Paul Gauguin

Education Resources
Who Am I?: Self Portraits in Art and Writing

Picturing France, 1830–1900

Teaching Art Nouveau
Paul Gauguin, Self-Portrait, 1889

Press Materials

Image: Paul Gauguin, Self-Portrait, 1889 Paul Gauguin's sumptuous, colorful images of Brittany and the islands of the South Seas are some of the most appealing paintings in modern art. They will be represented among nearly 120 works by Gauguin in the first major look at the artist's oeuvre in the United States since the blockbuster National Gallery of Art retrospective of 1988–1989, The Art of Paul Gauguin.

Organized by Tate Modern, London, in association with the Gallery, Gauguin: Maker of Myth brings together self-portraits, genre pictures, still lifes, and landscapes from throughout the artist's career. It includes not only oil paintings but also pastels, prints, drawings, sculpture, and decorated functional objects. Organized thematically, the exhibition examines Gauguin's use of religious and mythological symbols to tell stories, reinventing or appropriating narratives and myths drawn both from his European cultural heritage and from Maori legend.

Gauguin (1848–1903) was the ultimate global traveler, sailing in the South Pacific and living in Peru, Paris, Martinique, and Tahiti, among other places. The exhibition features many of his iconic paintings, on loan from around the world—ranging from scenes of religious life near the artist's colony of Pont-Aven in Brittany to the colorful, exotic canvases depicting the people and the tropical flora and fauna of the islands of French Polynesia, where he moved to escape European civilization. In Tahiti, he immersed himself in its fast-disappearing Maori culture to invest his art with deeper meaning, ritual, and myth, a fusion that continues to mesmerize audiences worldwide.

Organization: Organized by Tate Modern, London, in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Sponsor: Bank of America is proud to be the global sponsor.

The Marshall B. Coyne Foundation is a generous supporter through the Fund for the International Exchange of Art.

Additional support provided by The Exhibition Circle of the National Gallery of Art.

The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.