Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin

An Erotic Life

Book - 2001
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In this penetrating and daring biography of Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), Nancy Mowll Mathews traces the themes of sex and violence through the artist's life, from the near-murderous quarrels of his grandparents, to his abusive treatment of his wife, to his sexual encounters in French Polynesia in the 1890s. The book examines how Gauguin used these complex themes in his art and writings and how he carefully presented his erotic life in the autobiographical treatises Noa Noa (1893) and Avant et Apres (1903). The central drama of Gauguin's adulthood, his marriage to Mette Gad Gauguin, is assessed in detail, and with the inclusion of some of Mette's previously unpublished letters, both sides of the Gauguin marriage are presented for the first time. Mathews also provides fascinating new insights into understanding Gauguin's relationships with men and women and the roles that sexuality and aggression played in shaping his art. She also illuminates his homosocial, if not homoerotic, relationships with Vincent van Gogh, Emile Schuffenecker, and Charles Filiger. Gauguin's genius resided not only in his forging of new artistic paths, Mathews concludes, but in his ability to bring his sexual fan
Publisher: New Haven : Yale University Press, [2001]
Copyright Date: ©2001
ISBN: 9780300091090
Branch Call Number: 759.4 G234M 2001
Characteristics: xi, 316 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 27 cm


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Jan 02, 2012

Mathews, who has written intelligently on Mary Cassatt, here demythologizes Gauguin. We all know he left his family for Art, but Mathews explores the abusive cruelty with which he maintained ties to the capable wife he would denounce as a shrew, always holding out hope of future reconciliation while refusing any present assistance (and lamenting that SHE got to "enjoy" the company of the children he abandoned and she supported!) I hope many Seattlites will read this book in conjunction with the upcoming Gauguin exhibition at SAM. It's not as well illustrated as it might be, but it's a superb biography of this manipulative jerk.


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