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Gauguin reborn at MoMA

Gauguin is reborn for a new audience at MoMA
Gauguin is reborn for a new audience at MoMA
The New York Times

Talk about a metamorphoses. The Museum of Modern Art manages to bring to life a new exhibition that revitalizes the 19th Century work of French Painter Gauguin in MoMA's "Gauguin Metamorphoses" on view at the museum now. The New York Times (March 13) states that "The Museum of Modern Art’s groundbreaking Gauguin exhibition may be the last of its kind." Adds The Times, "after decades of unstinting curatorial attention to artists from Manet to Seurat, how many more exhibitions can radically reshape our understanding of a major 19th-century French painter?" For more on this art review visit


"The Modern’s “Gauguin: Metamorphoses” manages to do just that — and with a combination of delicacy and quiet that is almost startling, given the bold colors and compositions of his well-known Post-Impressionist paintings," adds The Times. "This show creeps in on the little cat feet of often dark, subtly textured works on paper, redefining Paul Gauguin’s achievement and sensibility by giving his work a new sense of process and emotional turmoil that thrillingly complicates the man and his modernist legacy."

The exhibition was curated for MoMA by Starr Figura, working with Lotte Johnson of the Modern’s drawings and prints department. "The show accomplishes this feat without an iota of blockbuster grandstanding or romancing the myth of the artist-rebel. In Gauguin’s case, that myth was of a hero who fled the evils of modern civilization for the unsullied land and the supposed primitive people of Tahiti, searching for a deeper spirituality but also more relaxed sexual mores," according to The Times.

There are 170 works on view at MoMA includes 11 paintings, and a variety of woodcuts, watercolor monotypes, prints, sculpture, and drawings, among other finds. "What’s more surprising, you may find that you barely look at the canvases. The show is dominated by riveting sequences of Gauguin’s lesser-known, unceasingly experimental woodcut prints. They create a reverie of recurring motifs that is most seductive in the opening gallery," adds The Times. "Here, the stunning variety of Gauguin’s prints for his great “Noa Noa” (“Fragrant Scent”) suite of woodcuts from 1893-94 that, in finished form, can be seen as a Tahitian genesis myth but mainly show a grand obsession with mood, form and atmosphere played on small pieces of paper."

For more details about the exhibit visit This show offers a unique and poignant view of Gauguin's influential and lesser-known works that hints at the nineteenth century's artist's breadth of understanding of visual arts techniques and practices of the times in which he lived. Staten Island fine arts enthusiasts, this is one exhibit that is worth the trip to New York City.

"Gauguin Metamorphoses" is now on view at MoMA in Manhattan. Come take a look, you won't be disappointed. MoMA is open later tomorrow and every Friday night. This is a great after work activity.