Gauguin Yellow Christ
Inspired by the painted crucifix in Trémalo chapel: Gauguin's Yellow Christ 1889

I thought I’d give you an update on where we are with the installation of the Gauguin exhibition. All last week the contractors were stripping out the temporary galleries, fixtures and fittings from the previous Tate Modern show (Francis Alys) in the East Wing, and then constructing and painting the walls, displays units and plinths for the Gauguin exhibition. This finished on Sunday afternoon. On Monday morning the galleries were handed over to the exhibition team to begin preparing for the installation of works. It’s always a very strange feeling walking into an empty exhibition gallery. I wandered around, from gallery to gallery, thinking how enormous the spaces were! The wall colours look great - I’m really pleased with them. For those of you who read my blog on wall colours, we decided to go for warm, light grey/browns for the main exhibition galleries, and a rich ‘Prussian’ blue for the documentary sections, which you can see for yourself when you come to the show. I should at this point tell you a bit more about the Gauguin exhibition team. There is me, as project leader and co-curator, then two further Tate curators, Amy Dickson and Maeve Polkinhorn, and two guest curators, Belinda Thomson, who conceived the exhibition, and Vincent Gille, who has selected the documentary material on Gauguin (which is fascinating). Our registrar, Stephanie Bush, has co-ordinated all the shipments of works and the installation schedule. We also have a team of conservators and technicians who specialise in different media, works on paper, works on canvas, sculpture and frames, and art technicians, who unpack, position and install the works. With over 150 works of art and 5 days to install, we have had to hit the ground running. Works of art have been arriving at Tate Modern for about the last ten days (a lot of the documentary material turned up a month ago so that our conservation teams could start preparing them for display). Those works of art that are flown in from around the world travel in the cargo hold of passenger planes. (Did you know that?) So you may have been sitting on an aeroplane at one time or another with a famous Picasso, Monet or Gauguin in a crate below you! Once the works arrive at Tate, they’re often given 24 hours to acclimatise before we open the crates to check their condition, and finalise where they’ll to be hung. This is especially the case if they’ve travelled long distances. And this is where the couriers come into the process. Many of them will have accompanied the works from their own galleries, and they oversee the works being removed from their crates, conditioned checked with our team of conservators and then hung on the walls or placed into display cases by our art technicians. But you know it is all worth it when you see wonderful works coming into the space, ready to be placed. Yesterday we installed The Yellow Christ and The Green Christ in the ‘Sacred Themes’ section of the show. And this afternoon we are installing The Vision of the Sermon and Christ in the Garden of Olives in the same gallery. It is so exciting seeing it come together! I’ll keep you posted…. 


Richard Ravensdale

Dear Christine, thank you for sharing this rare privelege - hanging an exhibition of Gauguin masterpieces from around the world. Equally wonderful even moreso than usual) to wake up this morning beside a palm fringed beach in Thailand, turn on the BBC World News on tv and discover this show was about to open in London. I had missed the big Gauguin show in Paris some years back - but won't miss this one, as its so helpful to see works gathered in one place, than to travel to indivial galleries with one or two in many countries.

Its good to see a small selection of the works in a preview of images in newspaper reports and gallery pages, but for 'expats' around the world like me who would love to come 9even in the English winter, before jan 16 closing) but have to consider the expense of flights, hotel in London not to mention all the books, posters and even Gauguin mugs to buy in Tate shop - could you please consider publishing on your blog a full list of the 150 or so works in the exhibition, so people can see if favourite works are there on loan from foreign galleries.

Just one specific question - as I have already spotted in a preview the loan from New Yorks Met, of what I feel is the finest portrait of the 19th century, Tahitian Women 1889 - do you have from Essen, Germany the late portrait - Jeune fille a l'Evantail, 1902 ?

Kind Regards Richard Ravensdale (Naklua, Thailand)

Charles Strickland

I just wanted to add my thanks to you, Christine, for giving us this privileged, access-all-areas look at how a blockbuster exhibition comes together, and sharing your insights into this extraordinary artist.

liz Milburn

Gauguin is one of my favourite artists. This year I went on a walk around Pont-Aven and saw a small chapel where the Yellow Christ painting was inspired. Amazing - the paintings have a timeless sense of the emotions and what fantastic colours which make the paintings shine out at you.

Fantastic to hear how the exhibition all comes together. It is very interesting to learn more about what happens behind the scenes. Cannot wait to see the exhibition.

Best wishes, Liz Milburn.


looks like you followed my advice for the walls colours! ( :) thanks for sharing the installation with us step by step, it makes me feel the excitement of seeing everything come together and create something beautiful. also, it makes me want to book a plane and come to see the exhibition! (hoping to be sitting on some masterpieces...)


Next time you should rig up a webcam so we can see a gallery coming together over the preparation. Sounds great. Is this the most stressful part of the staging of an major exhbition? Or it is relief that it's all coming together and most of it is out of your hands? And just how many cups of tea have the technicians and couriers drunk while they've been waiting, unpacking and hanging the galleries?! Looking forward to next week.

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My Wife loved this step by step article on the installation. THANK YOU!