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Gauguin: Maker of Myth
February 27 – June 5, 2011
East Building, Mezzanine and Upper Level, Northwest

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Overview: 108 works by French artist Paul Gauguin were shown in this exhibition, which brought together self-portraits, still lifes, and landscapes from every period of the artist's career to explore Gauguin's use of religious and mythological symbols. Oil paintings, pastels, prints, drawings, and sculptures from the collection of the National Gallery of Art and loans from public and private collections in Europe and the United States were included. The exhibition was organized by theme: Artist as Creator; Quest for Spirituality; Earthly Paradise/Paradise Lost; Re-creating the Past; Archetypal Females; and Religious Commonalities.

An audio tour narrated by National Gallery of Art Director Earl A. Powell III, with commentary by Mary Morton, curator of French paintings, National Gallery of Art, and others was available. Exhibition curator Belinda Thomson presented the lecture "Introduction to the Exhibition—Gauguin: Maker of Myth" on February 27. June Hargrove, professor of nineteenth-century European painting and sculpture, University of Maryland, College Park, spoke on "Calling the Earth to Witness: Paul Gauguin in the Marquesas" on May 15. Richard Brettell, Margaret McDermott Distinguished Chair of Art and Aesthetics, Interdisciplinary Program in Arts and Humanities, University of Texas at Dallas, spoke on "Gauguin's Selves: Visual Identities in the Age of Freud" on June 4. A film narrated by Willem Dafoe, with Alfred Molina as the voice of Gauguin, was produced by the National Gallery of Art and shown in East Building auditoriums during the exhibition. Concerts of French music in honor of the exhibition were presented by William Latchoumia on March 2 and by François Chaplin on March 20.

Organization: The exhibition was organized by Tate Modern, London, in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Belinda Thomson, independent art historian and honorary fellow, University of Edinburgh, was curator. Mary Morton, curator of French paintings, National Gallery of Art, was coordinator in Washington.

Sponsor: Bank of America was the global sponsor. The Marshall B. Coyne Foundation was a supporter through the Fund for the International Exchange of Art. Additional support was provided by The Exhibition Circle of the National Gallery of Art. The exhibition was supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. The film was made possible by the HRH Foundation.

Attendance: 176,006 (99 days)

Catalog: Gauguin: Maker of Myth, edited by Belinda Thomson. London: Tate Publishing, 2010.

Brochure: Gauguin: Maker of Myth, by Lynn Kellmanson Matheny. Washington: National Gallery of Art, 2011.

Other Venues: Tate Modern, London, September 30, 2010–January 16, 2011

Image: Paul Gauguin, Fatata te Miti (By the Sea), 1892, oil on canvas, Chester Dale Collection, 1963.10.149

Related Resources

Audio and Video

Gauguin: Maker of Myth
Video, Released: April 28, 2015, (30:00 minutes)
Introduction to the Exhibition—Gauguin: Maker of Myth
Audio, Released: May 31, 2011, (44:07 minutes)
Gauguin: Maker of Myth, Part 4
Video, Released: March 29, 2011, (8:19 minutes)
Gauguin: Maker of Myth, Part 3
Video, Released: March 22, 2011, (7:54 minutes)
Gauguin: Maker of Myth, Part 2
Video, Released: March 15, 2011, (9:22 minutes)
Gauguin: Maker of Myth, Part 1
Video, Released: March 8, 2011, (5:56 minutes)
Gauguin: Maker of Myth
Audio, Released: March 1, 2011, (20:09 minutes)
Press Event: Gauguin: Maker of Myth
Audio, Released: February 22, 2011, (28:07 minutes)