Moma / Gauguin: Metamorphosis

Gauguin: Metamorphosis
March 8–June 8, 2014


Paul Gauguin. Tahitian Woman with Evil Spirit. c. 1900. Oil transfer drawing, sheet: 22 1/16 x 17 13/16″ (56.1 x 45.3 cm). Private collection

This exhibition focuses on Paul Gauguin’s rare and extraordinary prints and transfer drawings, and their relationship to his better-known paintings and his sculptures in wood and ceramic. Comprising approximately 150 works, including some 120 works on paper and a critical selection of some 30 related paintings and sculptures, it is the first exhibition to take an in-depth look at this overall body of work.

Created in several discreet bursts of activity from 1889 until his death in 1903, these remarkable works on paper reflect Gauguin’s experiments with a range of mediums, from radically “primitive” woodcuts that extend from the sculptural gouging of his carved wood reliefs, to jewel-like watercolor monotypes and large, mysterious transfer drawings. Gauguin’s creative process often involved repeating and recombining key motifs from one image to another, allowing them to evolve and metamorphose over time and across mediums. Printmaking, which by definition involves transferring and multiplying images, provided him with many new and fertile possibilities for transposing his imagery. Gauguin embraced the subtly textured surfaces, nuanced colors, and accidental markings that resulted from the unusual processes that he devised, for they projected a darkly mysterious and dreamlike vision of life in the South Pacific, where he spent most of the final 12 years of his life.
Though Gauguin is best known as a pioneer of modernist painting, this exhibition showcases a lesser-known but arguably even more innovative aspect of his practice.

Organized by Starr Figura, The Phyllis Ann and Walter Borten Associate Curator, with Lotte Johnson, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints.

The exhibition is supported by BNP Paribas, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Anna Marie and Robert F. Shapiro, and by Denise LeFrak in memory of Ethel LeFrak.

Additional funding is provided by the MoMA Annual Exhibition Fund.
This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
Related Events


Gauguin’s Prints: Process and Materials
In a conversation with Museum educator Deborah Goldberg and Museum conservator Erika Mosier, explore Paul Gauguin’s inventiveness as a printmaker, the relationship between his prints and his work in other mediums, and the role of Conservation in planning the exhibition

Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 11:30 a.m.
Gauguin’s Depiction of Women and Use of Materials
Take a closer look at Paul Gauguin’s depictions of women, from savage to saintly, playful to moody, seductive to childlike.Then compare related works to explore the variations of expression Gauguin achieved through the use of different materials and often innovative techniques.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 1:30 p.m.
Seeing Double: Gauguin’s Repetition and Synthesis
Explore Paul Gauguin’s modernity as reflected in his reframing, reimagining, and reuse of motifs across time and various mediums.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 1:30 p.m.
Gauguin: Metamorphoses
Thursday, May 8, 2014, 5:30 p.m.
Gauguin: Metamorphoses
Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 12:30 p.m.

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