Pigment and medium analysis of Paul Gauguin’s Under the Pandanus

Paul Gaugin,Under the Pandanus (I Raro te Oviri), 1891
Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the Adele R. Levy Fund, Inc.

Dr. Amy Walker, who has significant expertise in Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS), worked with Ashley Ellsworth at UT Dallas and Mark Leonard, former Chief Conservator at the DMA, in an exploration of the potential for using SIMS as an analytical tool for the examination of Gauguin’s painting materials and techniques.

Initial studies focused upon a prime example of Gauguin’s work in the DMA collections, Under the Pandanus, I Raro te Oviri, which was painted in Tahiti in 1891.

The initial technical studies identified the use of terre verte and Prussian blue pigments, which are consistent with similar findings on Gauguin’s paintings from this period. It is hoped that further work can be done in order to characterize the paint medium; this will involve the development of a library of reference samples for comparative analysis.

Mark Leonard, Former Chief Conservator, Dallas Museum of Art

Amy Walker, Associate Professor, Department of Material Science and Engineering, School of Engineering and Computer Sciences, The University of Texas at Dallas