Sunday, 17 October 2010

Gauguin at the Tate Modern

We have just made a very rare trip to London, and whilst there made our first visit to the Tate Modern to see the Gauguin exhibition.

It is incredibly crowded, and deservedly so.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I would happily go around again. There is perhaps too much to take in on a single visit.

My impression is that many of the exhibits come from the US and Russia, and relatively few from France, so it is a once in a life time opportunity to see such an important collection.

What a strange life Gauguin led - from exile as a child to Peru and the early death of his father, in the aftermath of the 1848 Revolution, to his final days in his "House of Pleasure" on Hiva Oa island.

Along the way there was a period at sea, a short career as a Stockbroker, an even shorter period digging the Panama Canal, and a wife and five children left behind in Copenhagen.

Apart from the conventional pictures associated with Gaugin, the objects whose images will stay with me are the carved doorway to his "House of Pleasure",

so named apparently to annoy the local Catholics,

and an unexpected ceramic self portrait.