Gauguin and the Voyage to the Exotic
The exhibition explores three themes that are connected and interrelated throughout. The first and foremost is the figure of Paul Gauguin, whose flight to Tahiti—where he returned to primitivism through exoticism—is the common thread that runs through the whole exhibition. Not only have his iconic paintings in a Polynesian guise become the most appealing images in modern art, but they also had a major influence on the artistic movements of the first decade of the 20th century, such as French fauvism and German expressionism. The second is the voyage: the voyage as an escape from civilisation—a theme that would provide the avantgarde with fresh impetus—and the voyage as a return to the origins, to the Edenic, utopian and elementary state craved by primitivism. The third and last refers to the modern idea of the exotic and its connections with ethnography.
Paul Gauguin (1848 - 1903) Two Tahitian Women (Deux Femmes tahitiennes)
- Oil on canvas. 94 x 72.4 cm.
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. United States.
Gift of William Church Osborn, 1949; inv.: 49.58.1