Dallas Museum of Art: Gauguin in the Studio: Brittany-Tahiti-Paris

A grant of $49,627.00, starting in 2012 to support the exhibition Gauguin in the Studio: Brittany-Tahiti-Paris, for one year of technical and archival research to be undertaken by a collaborative team at the Dallas Museum of Art, including: Sue Canterbury, the Pauline Gill Sullivan Associate Curator of American Art; Mark Leonard, Chief Conservator; Heather MacDonald, the Lillian and James H. Clark Associate Curator of European Art, and Elpida Vouitsis, a doctoral student at UT Dallas.

Gauguin in the Studio: Brittany-Tahiti-Paris will explore Paul  Gauguin's studio practice and artistic production from the end of the 1880s to the mid-1890s, a critical period in his career as he developed new approaches to the manipulation of motifs and compositions across multiple canvases and media. The exhibition will investigate Gauguin's studio practice through a close examination of his key repetitions, beginning with two versions of the seminal Bonjour Monsieur Gauguin in 1889 and pursuing the practice throughout the period of his first voyage to Tahiti from 1891  to 1893 and his return to Paris from 1893 to 1895, when he was intensively processing and reworking  the visual record of his voyage.

The goal of the exhibition is to answer fundamental questions about the genesis,  chronology, earliest histories, and core meanings of these repetitions. New technical research on I Raro te Oviri I and II was explored in a colloquium uniting curators, conservators, and academic art historians in Minneapolis from September 23-25,  2010. The technical investigations and art historical research that preceded and informed this colloquium set the stage for a provocative re-interpretation of the evidence surrounding the Dallas and Minneapolis paintings.

The DMA plans to expand the model used to explore the I Raro te Oviri paintings to pursue comparable investigations and re-appraisals of the other four repetitions from this crucial period in Gauguin's career. The close integration of technical and art historical research is an important part of the project's methodology, and this collaborative spirit will inform every phase of the exhibition's development.


Paul Gauguin, 1848-1903 Under the Pandanus (I Raro te Oviri), 1891 Oil on canvas Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the Adele R. Levy Fund, Inc., 1963.58.FA


Heather McDonald and Mark Leonard