Gauguin and the Voyage to the Exotic
Under Palm Trees
When Gauguin arrived in Tahiti, he succeeded in heightening his creative freedom by combining the primitive and the savage. It had been clear to him
since his earlier period in Brittany that painting should defy the conventions of naturalistic imitation and draw on the sensations associated with contemplating nature through dreams.
As this section shows, the relationship with wild nature, whether real or imaginary, became the ideal means of retrieving innocence and happiness, the true meaning of art, not only for Gauguin but also for artists like Henri Rousseau and Henri Matisse, Emil Nolde and Max Pechstein, August Macke and Franz Marc. The world of the jungle provided them all with a means of overcoming the crisis of aesthetic, moral and political values and of reaching beyond the boundaries of the artistic language of the day.
Henri Rousseau (1844-1910) Tropical Landscape: An American Indian Struggling with a Gorilla (Paysage exotique avec un gorille attaquant un indien)
- Oil on canvas. 113.6 x 162,5 cm.
- Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. United States
Collection of Mr. y Mrs. Paul Mellon
© Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Photo: Travis Fullerton