As some of you will know, I posted a blog on Tuesday with an image of La Perte de Pucelage or ‘The Loss of Virginity’, one of Gauguin’s great paintings. Many thanks to all of you who responded (and will respond) - quite incredible…on so many levels! I promised to post the text that will be accompanying the painting, when it goes on display in Gallery 5 of the exhibition, called Landscape and Rural Narrative. So here it is…

Paul Gauguin La Perte de Pucelage
Paul Gauguin, La Perte de Pucelage

The Loss of Virginity relates a young girl’s sexual awakening to the natural landscape. Gauguin referred to the fox - a recurrent motif in his work - as the ‘Indian symbol of perversity’, though Breton folklore also identifies it with sexual power. The crowd of figures in the background may be a wedding party coming to meet the deflowered girl. Although painted in Paris at a time when Gauguin was closely involved with Symbolist writers and critics, the landscape is recognisable from other works that he made in Brittany. The model was Juliette Huet, a seamstress. She was two months pregnant at the time, and gave birth to their daughter Germaine while Gauguin was in Tahiti.

And just to keep you up to date with the exhibition, all this week the building contractors have been busy constructing the galleries, painting walls and getting the space ready for us to begin installing Gauguin’s works next week. Works of art have started arriving at Tate Modern and we will begin moving them into the exhibition galleries bright and early on Monday morning. I shall keep you posted - with lots of pictures and blog posts - as to developments from day to day. But in the meantime, wish us luck! 



good luck!! oh this is all so exciting to me! I'm an italian university student, I'm graduating in november in Art Management with a dissertation on Art Exhibitions Planning so what you are doing right now is what I hope I'll be doing as a job in the future and Tate would definitely be a dream... now you whish me good luck!


Will you really have time to keep us posted ? This must be your busiest time! Good luck. I hope everything arrives as it should, in the right order, undamaged. Make sure the technicians who hang and move everything are well supplied with tea and biscuits. We look foward to your blogs and to opening day. LD


Good Luck this week too, looking forward to seeing the show X

Pat Thorns

I found this painting very interesting when I saw it close up yesterday. I didn't know the model was Gaugin's mistress, but I did think that the figure is huge, dominating the landscape, and that such shameless outdoor nakedness was not very realistic in those times. The "wedding party" seemed to me to be merely a group of respectable villagers intended only to contrast with the loss of innocence of the girl, not necessarily on their way to meet her. Note how so many of the people are women with their hair modestly and decently covered with caps, and look at their children, born (we assume)respectably within matrimony - the group seemed to me to represent society and public morality. Anyway, it is very thought-provoking!