Those of you who have visited the exhibition may have spotted an edition of W. Somerset Maugham’s satirical novel The Moon and Sixpence, in one of our ‘Life and Times’ galleries. First published in 1919, the story is based on Gauguin’s life, with the artist recast as an Englishman called Charles Strickland (some of you eagle-eyed bloggers may have noticed a ‘Charles Strickland’ among the blog comments.) Strickland abandons his wife, children and a lucrative career as a London stockbroker, to follow his ‘destiny’ as a painter…sound familiar? He even ends up in Tahiti, in pursuit of Art and Beauty, and, in a final burst of creative genius, paints his masterpieces on the walls of his hut - despite being blinded by leprosy - and dies (ok, so this bit doesn’t sound quite right for Gauguin!) Maugham was clearly fascinated by the burgeoning Gauguin myth. In fact he went out to Taihiti in 1914 to visit where the artist lived and even bought a stained-glass painting there entitled Woman with Fruit (1896). He wasn’t the only one - the poet Rupert Brooke visited in the same year. Some of you may be familiar with Maugham’s novel via the movie made in 1943. This was the first ‘representation’ of Gauguin on film. It stars the British actor George Sanders, who seems to have spent his whole career playing ‘the cad’ - it has to be said, he was extremely good at it… But given how popular The Moon and Sixpence was in Britain and America, I can’t help but wonder how far Maugham’s unflattering interpretation has filtered down to the present and made an impact on our preception of Gauguin today….what do you think?