So, the Gauguin: Maker of Myth exhibition closed on Sunday. All this week, couriers have been turning up from around the world to oversee their paintings, sculptures and other works of art being packed up, ready to go out to the second venue of the exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

I’m very sad to see the works go and everything else being dismantled for the next exhibition in this space (mind you…its Joan Miró, so put it in your diary!) The Gauguin exhibition has been a fantastic experience for me and I just wanted to say a big ‘thank you’ for reading my blog and for all your comments, whether in reaction to things that I said, or your experiences in the exhibition itself. Believe me, we have been reading all your messages (and noting down some of your thoughts, on labelling in particular!) They’ve been fascinating, entertaining and thought-provoking - so thanks again. Maybe I’ll see some of you in Washington, DC in February? With all best wishes, Christine


Trevor Smith


I was v. fortunate to have had the chance to visit the Gauguin exhibition, at the Tate Modern, on 1st of Nov 2010. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Although I was already always an admirer of Gauguin's work, I was amazed by the exhibition; seeing such a wide variety of his work, his intense use of colours and the obvious love and respect he clearly had for the Tahitian people and the Tahitian landscape, left me with greater admiration. It's as if he was trying to say to us 'look how simple, look how beautiful, look at what we're doing...' I really admire him for this.

During the exhibition I unfortunately, missed out on the chance of using one of those audio devices that informed the viewer as they moved around the exhibition; giving them a further insight into Gauguin and his work. What I'd like to know is how could I get hold of one of these recording or CD's?

In addition, there were also a few questions I wanted to ask about his work. I thought that if you could answer them it would be great.

Q1) It's often said that Gauguin's paintings denied perspectives and used mainly thick flat forms what does this mean?

Q2)What was Gauguin trying to communicate by the often very decorative forms eg floral background and patterns on womens dresses or bed etc?

Q3)Gauguin stated that 'form and colour brought into harmony produces poetry by themself' what does this mean?

Q4)Gauguin discouraged copying from nature slavishly,but what is meant by '...rendering their inner dreams by symbolic allusion and decorative form?

Q5)Gauguin's paintings sometimes had dogs or fox in them, what did they symbolise?

Q6)Which artists today would you say have been influenced by Gauguin, and in what ways?

Hope this is ok.

Thank you and looking forwards to your reply.

Kind Regards



I saw Gaugain's in the morning of the second day after the opening. It was moderately crowded and highly enjoyable. I still wanted to have a second look, but did not manage. In the end I went to the Tate Britain on the last day of Muybridge's exhibition. It was busier than when I visited Gaugain's and can only imagine what was going on at the Modern. I am looking forward to Miro' and hopefully will be there during the first part of the exhibition. PS I should be grateful if the rest of the visitors would continue to go towards the end.


Wanting to view art in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere doesn't mean galleries can't put on popular exhibtions. LightDragon is presenting a polarised view... The Tate should have known this would be EXTREMELY popular and planned accordingly, not narrowed their viewpoint. It was fabulous but I went twice and only saw half of it, surely that defeats the purpose?!


But if you do a Gauguin exhibition people will come and see it, so would you have preferred they hadn't done it at all? Presumably this means Tate shouldn't do any exhibitions of popular artists?


Thanks for all your posts, your interesting insights and thoughts. Well done to all the team responsible, and to you in particular.

What a shame that The Tate has put on such a popular exhibition. Terrible that so many people wanted to come and see it.... It's Gauguin, so what do you all expect?!

annie bell

Would have preferred the exhibition if it had been less busy. Almost impossible to see the pictures and reflection on them was impossible in such a crowd. Had travelled from Edinburgh to see exhibition, will think twice about going to a London show again.

deirdre mcardle

at last,some comments which can take on board what painting is actually about.We know that perspective is a device invented to render or 'language' if you like,three dimensions from the whole of our visual field into two dimensions on a flat ( first delivery usually considered to be be dead soldier in armour in Uccello's Battle Of San Romano.Chiaroscuro ditto,for modelling of 3d.objects. Painting moved on to realism ,where ordinary people and domestic events were depicted instead of historic events,Kings,the rich.When 'the east 'opened up to 'the west artists saw 'flat'Japanese prints and Chinese Kahnweiler .Picasso's dealer called cubism "the opening up of the closed world"painting had always existed as an abstract harmonic form as well as the narrative ,after cubism the narrative could be ditched or not.Gauguin at the cusp of modernism (before cubism obviously) was begining to deal with the act of seeing as well as the seen, a development that would ultimately lead to say the recent paintings of say Gerhart Richter,where instead of an arm or a stretch of land or patch of scrub he reduced all elements in his visual field to the same size,a square,and ostensibly these paintings also have no traditional entrance or exit points ,no narrative,no up or down no depth they mirror the modern man with his eleven dimensions and black holes.Well Gauguin was on the way to this,well he and others! (I've dashed this off without correction,others may do that !)

deirdre mcardle

or,"do" them better.Of course this is a very large building, but insurance demands for a show like this must be stringent and complicated.

deirdre mcardle

that bringing art to the people should be more than a bums on seats mentality .


Even when I'm there I would prefer exhibitions like this to be crowded - the chances of getting in some people new to the artist and art experience are greater. The Gauguin show was pretty comprehensive and interesting, but I thought the quality of the lighting was poor and made the paintings seem rather dispiritingly yellow or gray - perhaps the artist applying the paint rather thinly also contributed to this (as I read).