My husband Darrell and I spent part of our anniversary, February 17th, at Seattle Art Museum viewing their exhibit "Gauguin & Polynesia: An Elusive Paradise" (February 9, 2012 thru April 29, 2012).
Although Gauguin's Polynesia period is not our favorite of his, we enjoyed this show immensely. It's always enjoyable to get close-up to such talent and beauty. I spent a lot of time getting too close to the paintings and looking at his brush-strokes and the colors he chose.
|Three Tahitians 1899|
|Beneath the Pandanu Tree 1891|
|Tahitian Mountains 1893|
|Landscape with Three Figures 1901|
I stood and stared in awe at "Landscape with Three Figures", which was one of the paintings towards the last of the exhibit. I marveled at the brush strokes. I contemplated the sky for a long time. I stood there with my mouth open, I'm sure. I had to remark to Darrell that I had just spent a good deal of time yesterday finishing up the sky on one of my freeway paintings, trying to get it very evenly all-over blue with no brush strokes showing. Gauguin's sky in this painting is a series of little brush strokes in every shade and hue. The white and grey clouds on the right dissipate off into the blue-ness of the sky unlike the clearly defined ones towards the center. I thought, why don't I do skies like this? These are gorgeous!
I went home and looked at my freeway painting...wondering if I should redo it. I decided the sky I painted for it, fit it. It would not look right with an impressionistic sky in a sorta realistic painting. I left it the way it was. I guess I knew what I was doing after all.
|Pare Paillard by Gauguin 1902|
Who knew Gauguin was such a talented carver? The above statue was also one of our favorites because of the story behind it. "Pere Paillard" (Father Lechery or Debauchery) inscribed on its base. It was recognizable as the local Catholic bishop, who demanded Gauguin stop his liaisons with the local women, while still pursuing them himself despite his vows of celibacy, and all while the church was engaged in wholesale destruction of the native culture. Things never change!
Also included in this exhibit are a lot of the local art from the Islands, including a tiki that is said to embody all of the ancestors. We were invited to greet it and speak to it.
There was another room dedicated to Gauguin's wood block prints, which I found fascinating. I had no idea he had done any. Apparently, he didn't do much with the prints after he had carved the blocks (he had planned a book about Polynesia, but it never materialized). Gauguin's son later printed some of the blocks which are on display here.
|Gauguin Woodblock print 1903|
If you are in the Seattle area during this show, I encourage you to go see it. You'll definitely enjoy it.