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Release Date: February 8, 2011

Gauguin: Maker of Myth Celebrated with Rich Array of Related Programs at National Gallery Of Art

Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art plans a host of programs in honor of Gauguin: Maker of Myth, a major exhibition on view in the East Building from February 27 through June 5, 2011, for which the Gallery is the sole United States venue. Lectures, films, concerts, gallery talks, an audio tour, and a teacher workshop explore the themes of the exhibition, and the Gallery Shops offer related gift items and books to inspire and delight visitors.

All programs are free of charge in the East Building Auditorium unless otherwise noted. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Lecture Programs

Introduction to the Exhibition—Gauguin: Maker of Myth
Sunday, February 27, 2:00 p.m.
Mary Morton, curator and head of the department of French paintings, National Gallery of Art, and Belinda Thomson, guest curator, University of Edinburgh

Gauguin's Myths
Monday, May 9, 12:10 and 1:10 p.m.
Mary Morton, curator and head of the department of French paintings, National Gallery of Art
East Building Small Auditorium

Calling the Earth to Witness: Paul Gauguin in the Marquesas
Sunday, May 15, 2:00 p.m.
June Hargrove, professor of 19th-century European painting and sculpture, University of Maryland, College Park

Gauguin: The Mythmaker in His Studio
Monday, May 23, 12:10 and 1:10 p.m.
Carol Christiansen, senior conservator, department of painting conservation, National Gallery of Art

Gauguin's Selves: Visual Identities in the Age of Freud
Saturday, June 4, 12:00 p.m.
Richard Brettell, Margaret McDermott Distinguished Chair of Art and Aesthetics, Interdisciplinary Program in Arts and Humanities, University of Texas at Dallas

Gallery Talks

Regular public tours of Gauguin: Maker of Myth will be offered by the adult programs department of the education division. For times and topics, please consult the bimonthly calendar of events or the Gallery Talk section of the National Gallery of Art website at

Audio Tour

Narrated by Director Earl A. Powell III, this tour includes commentary by Gallery curator Mary Morton; Belinda Thomson, guest curator, University of Edinburgh; and Nicholas Thomas, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge University.

Rental at the entrance of the exhibition: $5

Exhibition Film
Gauguin: Maker of Myth

Narrated by Willem Dafoe and with Alfred Molina as the voice of Gauguin, this 30-minute film explores Paul Gauguin's struggle to forge a new way of painting by creating myths—about both himself and the subjects he painted in Brittany, Martinique, and Polynesia. Produced by the Gallery and made possible by the HRH Foundation, the film will be shown in the East Building Auditorium Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays at 11:30 a.m. and in the East Building Small Auditorium daily from noon to closing.

Film Series

Gauguin in Tahiti and the Marquesas
Fridays April 1, 8, and 15, 2:30 p.m.
Gauguin's letters and other writings are paired with paintings and the settings that motivated them in this chronicle of the artist's journey to the South Pacific. As a rebel who espoused a return to nature, Gauguin warned that industrialization would eclipse the earth's beauty, and wipe out these Southern Pacific cultures. (Richard Dindo, 2010, digital beta, 68 minutes)


Wilhem Latchoumia, pianist
Wednesday, March 2, 12:10 p.m.
Music by Debussy, Hahn, and Villa-Lobos

François Chaplin, pianist
Sunday, March 20, 6:30 p.m.
Music by Debussy
West Building, West Garden Court

Teacher Workshop

Gauguin: Maker of Myth
Saturday, March 12 (repeated Saturday, March 26)
10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
East Building Concourse, Education Studio
Paul Gauguin's sumptuous, colorful images of Tahiti and Brittany are among the most iconic images in modern art. This workshop will examine the artist as storyteller and mythmaker. Gauguin is known for his reinvention of narratives inspired by his European heritage, Maori legend, religious symbols, and his own artistic identity. Based on the special exhibition Gauguin: Maker of Myth, this workshop explores themes including creation and life-cycle myths; the femme fatale metaphor embodied by temptresses, Venus, and Eve; the Nativity; and the concept of the "noble savage." Appropriate for teachers of social studies, language arts, or any discipline concerned with mythology. Fee: $10. Registration required; please visit

Gallery Shops

In addition to the full-color Gauguin: Maker of Myth exhibition catalogue, the Gallery Shops will feature a wide selection of scholarly titles and a delightful mix of children's books about the life and work of Paul Gauguin. Other items will include the Gallery's exhibition film on DVD, a 2012 exhibition wall calendar, and a selection of note card sets, art reproductions, postcards, puzzles, magnets, and a commemorative coffee mug. A music CD, Gauguin and the Seven Seas, will feature a compilation of recordings of traditional world music from the countries where Gauguin visited or lived, including France, Martinique, Panama, Peru, Tahiti, and other Polynesian islands. A selection of 100% silk scarves imported from Lyon, France, inspired by Gauguin's paintings or using design motifs from his works of art, will be available.

Visit the Gallery Shops in person, browse online at, call (800) 697-9350 or (202) 842-6002, fax (202) 789-3047, or e-mail [email protected].

About the Exhibition

Paul Gauguin's (1848–1903) sumptuous, colorful images of Brittany and the islands of the South Seas, some of the most beloved in modern art, are among more than 100 works by the artist in the first major exhibition of his career in the United States in some 20 years. On view from February 27 through June 5, 2011, at the National Gallery of Art, Washington—the sole United States venue—the exhibition Gauguin: Maker of Myth, along with its accompanying catalogue, examines the role that myth-making played in Gauguin's art, shedding new light on his life and career.

The exhibition reflects the remarkable breadth of Gauguin's work, with examples from every period (from c. 1880 to 1903), medium (painting, watercolor, pastel, drawing, and prints; ceramic and wooden sculpture; and decorated functional objects), and genre (portraiture, still life, and landscape).

Gauguin: Maker of Myth was organized by Tate Modern, London, in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Exhibition Support

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 is 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.

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

Checklist (PDF 357kb)

Bank of America Corporate Statement (PDF 84kb)

Curator Biographies:
Belinda Thomson
Mary Morton

Related Activities

Exhibition Page:
Gauguin: Maker of Myth