Skip to Main Content

Release Date: April 4, 2011, 11.12 AM EST

Official Statement Regarding "Two Tahitian Women" by Paul Gauguin

Washington, DC—Update, April 4, 1:55 PM EST:

After a thorough examination, conservators from the National Gallery of Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art report that the painting “Two Tahitian Women” by Paul Gauguin sustained no damage. It will go back on public view on Tuesday morning, April 5. The Gallery is open free of charge, Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm.

Official Statement, April 4, 2011, 11:12 AM EST:

At approximately 4:45 pm on Friday, April 1, a woman hit the plexiglass covering the painting "Two Tahitian Women" (1899) by Paul Gauguin and attempted to pull it from the wall in the exhibition currently on view, "Gauguin: Maker of Myth." Initial examination indicates that the painting has not suffered any damage. It is covered by plexiglass, with adequate space between the glazing and the canvas. A Gallery security officer who was stationed nearby was the first to reach the woman. He immediately restrained and detained the woman and she was later charged with destruction of property and attempted theft, second degree. The security officer’s actions prevented any potential harm to visitors or works of art. The woman appeared in U.S. District Court on Saturday. The painting is on loan from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, which has been informed of the incident. This morning the painting was removed and taken to the Gallery’s conservation lab for further in-depth examination by conservators from both museums.

For addtional information about the exhibition go to:
"Gauguin: Maker of Myths"
Press Release

Background about the painting:
In this painting from 1899, among Gauguin’s most popular, he depicts two Tahitian women in a serene state of reverence, as they offer flowers, perhaps during a religious ceremony. Their skin is depicted in golden hues, set off by the cool colors of their clothes and of the tropical glade in which they stand. The painting captures Gauguin’s mythical idea of Tahiti as a paradise of beautiful, mysterious women.

General Information

For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000 South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]
Anabeth Guthrie
Chief of Communications
(202) 842-6804
[email protected]

The Gallery also offers a broad range of newsletters for various interests. Follow this link to view the complete list.

Press Release