Christine Riding Gauguin wall
Curator Christine Riding adds another piece of the jigsaw to her wall of Gauguin images

As you can see from the ‘Gauguin’ wall in my office, I have been busy with the team putting this show together. This is my first exhibition at Tate Modern, and I have spent the last two years living with these strange and wonderful pictures. I feel like I have got to know them really well. And Gauguin too.

Gauguin Self-portrait with Manao
Paul Gauguin
Self-portrait with Manao tu papau 1893

Gauguin was one of those annoying people who are naturally gifted: he was a painter, sculptor, swordsman, sailor, musician, insatiable traveller, lover, fighter and even at one point, worked on the Paris stock exchange. He could turn his hand to pretty much anything.

Gauguin Nevermore
Painted lady: Gauguin's Nevermore

What is the main thing we generally know about Gauguin?  That he did paintings of Tahiti and that he had Tahitian mistresses. So let’s get that out of the way first… But I reckon that he was a far more interesting and complicated character than most of us think. He would have been a fascinating person to meet though probably a bit selfish, arrogant - and very argumentative… at least if his letters are anything to go by. The show opens at the end of September, so I have eight weeks before my wall becomes a ‘real exhibition’. Over that time I hope to give you a peek behind the scenes and let you know about my favourite stories, so please join me and feel free to add comments along the way. 


Elizabeth Gaine...

Im sorry not to be there to experience this. Elizabeth Gaines Cardona Washington Dc


I'll be putting this exhibition as a date in my diary. A must see for the autumn


Dear Christine,

If you would like a volunteer for organising this exhibition, I'd love to help. Please contact me on the email indicated above.

Thanks Kind Regards Maya

freddy bones

so which painting was it that drove Vincent wild with envy?


Christine, I'm looking forward to more Gauguin stories from you... and to seeing your exhibit walls.

John Stack's picture

Dear all. Thanks for your comments. We are aiming to publish posts on the development of the Gauguin exhibition a few times each week.

Michael1952, Thanks for your question regarding availability of the Gauguin exhibition's audio tour on iTunes. This is something that we're working on right now.

Maya and Emma FitzGerald, Thanks for your interest. From time to time we do have internship and volunteer opportunities at Tate.

Thanks again. John Stack, Head of Tate Online

Christine Riding

Thanks for all your comments.

edoardo corsi - good question about Degas and Gauguin. I'm going to address this relationship (and others) in future blogs...

Elizabeth - your luck is in! The second venue of 'Gauguin: Maker of Myth' is the National Gallery of Art, Washington (Spring next year).

Best wishes, Christine

tove says

How nice of you to share these exiting work of planning with us. Very interesting to see how you are working and looking forward to the exhibition.


This is great - gives a completely new view on what looks like being a great exhibition. One small request Could you make the Audio Guide available on iTunes - should there be issues around copyright why not just remove all the images - I'd still pay so that I was prepared before I went into the show.

edoardo corsi

thank you for this post dear curator , could you enlighten us on his relationship w degas !

Maria Masino

Thank you very much Christine for this upcoming exhibition! I am very interested in this blog of yours as it shows me Gauguin from a very different point of view. As I live in Canada, I hope you can feed the blog weekly so we can get to know his work better and be informed about this wonderful exhibition!

Maria Masino

Emma FitzGerald

Hi Christine, I am a Museum and Gallery studies student at Kingston University and have recently finished my second year and I am very interested in going down the curator route if you need any volunteers I would be more than happy to offer my services. Many thanks, E.L.FitzGerald


My favorite painting is Nafea Faa ipoipo? (When Will You Marry?). I am dying to know if it will be included.

It's this one:

I'll be there no matter what. I just need to know if I have to prepare for someone to catch me when I faint.

Paul Chennell

I was interested to see that the picture Nevermore is included in this exhibition. This picture was once owned by the composer Frederick Delius, a friend of the artist. He also owned some wooden sculptures by Gauguin, and I would be very interested to know if anyone can shed light on these sculptures.

Paul Chennell, Editor, The Delius Society Journal.

Geoff Bobker

I went to the exhibition in 1955, & still have the catalogue. It has soft covers, 40 pages, & only one colour reproduction. I'm sure the catalogue for this year's exhibition will be far grander (& dearer) but I doubt if you will be able to carry it round & consult it as you go, as you could in the old days!