See "Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist" Featuring 240+ Works

From stockbroker to post-Impressionist creator, Paul Gauguin’s world traveling experiences heavily influenced his work throughout his career.

Gauguin is historically noteworthy for his distinguished transformation of materials, including wood, wax and ceramics, into something entirely new and uniquely different. Beginning in his birthplace of France, he fled urban civilization to grow his work in a new, purer setting. Check out more than 240 works exploring his motivation to differentiate himself and challenge the boundaries of art during his time from June 24-September 10, 2017 at the Art Institute of Chicago.


World Traveler

Gauguin’s career and life path shifted dramatically after the stock market crashed in 1882. Gauguin decided to become a full-time artist, painting landscapes, carving wood, sculpting, making ceramics and studying other artists for inspiration. From Paris to Brittany to Martinique to Tahiti to the Marquesas Island, Gauguin engrossed and reinvented the local creative cultures and traditions.


Post-Impressionist Creativity

Gauguin: Artist as AlchemistGauguin’s experimental creative use of color distinguished himself from Impressionism, which was so prominent in the 19th century. His creative output emphasizes his overwhelming interest in craft and decorative arts. The bold artist was an important figure in the Symbolist movement, the pursuit of meaning behind the forms, lines, shapes, and colors and his work led directly to the Synthetist style of modern art.


Diversified Collections

Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist

Gauguin’s work is comprised of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, prints, and decorations influenced by his several journeys around the world. Not only are the various methods impressive, but the innovative processes that he used to create them. Artist as Alchemist shares the exploration of Gauguin’s influence in the art world, paving the way for artists like Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.


Art Institute of Chicago
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Chicago, IL 60603
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Photo Credits
Header photo: Paul Gauguin. Mahana no atua (Day of the God), 1894. Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection.
Image 1: Paul Gauguin. Merahi metua no Tehamana (Tehamana Has Many Parents or The Ancestors of Tehamana), 1893. The Art Institute of Chicago, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Deering McCormick.
Image 2: Paul Gauguin, with Émile Bernard. Earthly Paradise, 1888. The Art Institute of Chicago, through prior gift of Henry Morgen, Ann G. Morgen, Meyer Wasser, and Ruth G. Wasser; restricted gift of Edward M. Blair.

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