Gauguin at the Tate Modern

'Maternity', 1889
Evie and I braved Tate Modern's crowds to see the Gauguin exhibition this afternoon. It was soooo worth it. We loved his still life studies of 'flowers' ('wowers' according to E-chops) and the vibrant canvases depicting Polynesian women in luscious tropical, techicolour colour. You can almost sense the humidity of the Tahitian-climate just looking at them. I was intrigued to find out Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin, 1848-1903, had been a well-to-do stockbroker and that he didn't pick up a paint brush until he was the ripe old age of 27. The Paris stock market crashed in 1882 and soon afterwards he abandoned his wife Mitte and five children (charming!) to pursue art, eventually heading to the South Seas to revel in the more primitive way of life. He knew buyers would love these exotic, richly-coloured paintings and the myths they evoked. Gauguin had a dark side but his paintings from that era are glorious and I love the way these women and children are depicted. Who knows, perhaps deep down he missed his wife and kids? He died of syphilis at the age of just 54 on a remote Polynesian island. 'It is true that suffering sharpens the genius, yet too much suffering kills you,' he said. Go see the genius for yourself.
Gauguin is on at Tate Modern until  16 January 2011. 020 7887 8888/ Book a time slot (aim for a week day when it is quieter).

'Nativity', 1896

Faa Iheihe, 1898

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