Paul Gauguin seems to have been quite a selfish man, abandoning his wife and children in Europe whilst he went swanning off across the globe to have sexual relationships with underage girls.
However he did produce a load of wonderful paintings some of which could be enjoyed at the National Gallery earlier this year. Gauguin Portraits, which I finally got round to seeing towards the end of January, just over a week before it ended, had been running since October 2019.
Most of his paintings that I recognise are from his time in Polynesia. That style was well represented in this exhibition but it was nice to see pieces from other places and times.
I bought myself a nice book on Gauguin, from the National Gallery shop, Paul Gauguin | Materpieces of Art by Rosalind Ormiston. It features a range of his work, not just the ones from his Polynesian years. Interestingly the colours of the reproduction seem richer than the paintings in real life (at least for the Sorcerer of Hiva Oa).
I have a photo of a woman (walking by some trees and holding aloft a short branch) which I decided to paint in a fashion influenced by his style: bold use of colour, not much detail, visible dark outlines. The two paintings you can see in the book spread above gave me the most direction.
Triumph Emerges I’ve called it. Acrylic on Watercolour paper. Yes, it’s very hard to paint in someone else’s style, you definitely wouldn’t look at this and think Gauguin. For a start I’d have to make her fuller figured and take some of her clothes off! It would probably also help to go larger and in oils.
Exhibitions on Hold
As mentioned, I went to that exhibition in late January. There was really no inkling at the time of the surreal circumstances we’d find ourselves in not too many weeks later.
I write this holed up at home in the midst of the Covid19 lockdown. None of the art galleries are open, all future exhibition plans on hold. This lockdown really makes me appreciate how lucky I am to have these cultural venues so easily accessible and at relatively low cost. I really look forward to the end of this terrible crisis, to a time when we can once again enjoy their many treasures.