The Easel

5th March 2024

Trouble in Paradise

Gauguin arrived in Polynesia in 1891 and mostly lived there until his death in 1903. This period defines his artistic reputation and generates the opprobrium that now attaches to his name.  A new book confirms Gauguin as an ethically flawed individual. Yet it is also true that his interest in Tahitian spirituality was genuine and the young women around him had agency in daily life and in their relationships with him. Careful scholarship shows him to be “more than merely a sexual predator gorging himself in paradise.”