Sleepless in Polynesia

This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.

The New York Sun

An exhibition of Paul Gauguin organized by Art Center Basel has opened at its one stop in the United States, the Seattle Art Museum. “Highlighting the complex relationship between Gauguin’s work and the art and culture of Polynesia,” according to the museum, it displays nearly 60 of the post-Impressionist master’s paintings alongside “major examples of forceful Polynesian sculpture.”

“‘Gauguin and Polynesia’ traces Gauguin’s journey from bourgeois stockbroker to full-time artist, while at the same time tracing Polynesia’s artistic evolution during the 18th and 19th centuries. Providing a balance of Polynesian art alongside Gauguin’s works, the exhibition offers a solid analysis of how this one artist enacted his own quest for the Polynesian past and reacted to the changes evident in Polynesia during his lifetime. Distinctive sculpture and ornamentation in wood, shell and other natural materials from Tahiti, Easter Island, the Marquesas and elsewhere, will be featured near many of Gauguin’s most iconic canvases.”

“Gauguin and Polynesia: An Elusive Paradise” runs through April 29 at the Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Avenue, Seattle, Washington, 206-654-3100,

Franklin Einspruch is an artist and writer. He blogs at

The New York Sun

© 2024 The New York Sun Company, LLC. All rights reserved.

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The material on this site is protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used.

The New York Sun

Sign in or  Create a free account

By continuing you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use