The tribal Gauguin

24 April 2014 / , ,

Drums beating, campfire blazing, a blanket of smoke covering everything in it’s grasp as the tribe performs the Upa upa—fire dance. Dancing shadows flicker with the flames of the fire as those near reach a trance like state. Late in his life and career, Paul Gauguin was one of those entranced. Developing an artistic style and way of life that drew inspiration from the primal non ‘Europeanized’ parts of the world, Gauguin immersed himself in the cultures of Tahiti, Peru, and French Polynesia. The body of work that he produced depicts various scenes of village life, religion, and death. Made in a post-impressionist style using woodcut, sculpture, painting, and lithography to transcribe his subject into muted monotones and earthy palettes. I love the raw feel of these works, each one textured and imperfect, Upa upa (fire dance) is a great example of this, with various versions in woodcut and painting, each casting a different sentiment on the scene taking place. Recently at the MoMA, Gauguin: Metamorphoses, is a unique collection of Gauguin’s primal inspired works, view the exhibition site here to learn more.

Paul Gauguin. Tahitian Idol. 1894.
Paul Gauguin. Oviri (Savage). 1894.
Paul Gauguin. Buddha from the Vollard Suite. 1898–99.
Paul Gauguin. Te atua, state III / III. 1893–94.
Paul Gauguin. Nave nave fenua (Delightful Land), state III / IV. 1893–94.
Paul Gauguin. Tahitian Woman with Evil Spirit. c. 1900.
Paul Gauguin. Upa upa (The Fire Dance). 1891.
Paul Gauguin. Mahna no varua ino (The Devil Speaks), state IV / IV. 1893–94.
Paul Gauguin. Mahna no varua ino (The Devil Speaks), state IV / IV. 1893–94.
Paul Gauguin. The White Horse. 1898.
Paul Gauguin. Be in Love and You Will Be Happy, states I / II and II / II. 1898.
Paul Gauguin. Leda (Design for a China Plate). 1889.
Paul Gauguin. Te faruru (Here We Make Love), state IV / VI. 1893–94.
Paul Gauguin. Hina tefatou (The Moon and the Earth). 1893.
Paul Gauguin. Te po (Eternal Night), state III / IV. 1893–94.