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Home » Go See – Tokyo: Paul Gauguin at MOMAT, The Japan National Museum of Modern Art, through September 23, 2009

Go See – Tokyo: Paul Gauguin at MOMAT, The Japan National Museum of Modern Art, through September 23, 2009

August 26th, 2009

Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?  1897-98    Oil on canvas    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston  Tompkins Collection-Arthur Gordon Tompkins Fund, 36.270  Photograph © 2009 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. All rights reserved.
D’ou venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Ou allons-nous?
(Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?) Paul Gauguin, (1897-98). Via MOMAT

MOMAT, the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, is celebrating Paul Gauguin’s masterpiece D’ou venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Ou allons-nous? (Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?) through September 23rd.  This exhibition brings Gauguin’s celebrated painting to Japan for the first time. In fact, it is only the third occasion that the painting has left the USA since its inclusion in the permanent collection in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1936.

E haere oe i hia  (Where Are You Going?) 1892 Oil on canvas Staatsgalerie Stuttgart ©Foto: Staatsgalerie Stuttgart
E haere oe i hia (Where are you going?), Paul Gauguin (1892). Via MOMAT

Related Links:
MOMAT, the National Museum of Modern Art Homepage [MOMAT]
Paul Gauguin, Exhibition Page [MOMAT]
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston [MFA, Boston]
Huge Gauguin masterpiece makes rare visit to Japan [Reuters.com]
Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts Celebrates 10th Anniversary [ArtDaily]

More text and pictures after the jump….

Oviri 1894-95 Colored plaster The Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art
Oviri
, Paul Gauguin (1894-95). Via MOMAT

In light of the assumption that Gauguin almost certainly created D’ou venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Ou allons-nous? while under the influence of the Western tradition of fresco painting, MOMAT has chosen to exhibit the enormous painting alone in the museum’s special exhibition gallery. The intention inherent in this choice is to emphasize the enormity of the enigmatic questions Gauguin presents to the viewer.

Loss of Virginity 1890-91 Oil on canvas Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia ©Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.
Loss of Virginity, Paul Gauguin (1890-91). Via MOMAT

Malcolm Rogers, of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, has stated that the painting, “sums up the uncertainty in human life, it has universal relevance, which is what makes it fascinating, as the questions posed are ones that everybody will think about at some point in their life“. In light of the potency of these questions, MOMAT has not abandoned the viewer unaided in the quest to consider the answers;  in one corner of the room, several monitors deliver hints to encourage the audience.

Te nave nave fenua  (The Delightful Land) 1892 Oil on canvas Ohara Museum of Art, Kurashiki *Shown from July 3 to August 30
Ta nave nave fenua (The delightful land), Paul Gaugin (1892). Via MOMAT

exotic eve.jpg
Exotic Eve, Paul Gauguin (1890-4). Via MOMAT

While D’ou venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Ou allons-nous? remains isolated, the rest of the exhibition chronicles Gauguin’s work from the early days of his artistic career spent in Brittany to works created in his final years. These paintings all interconnect themes central to Gauguin’s oeuvre such as Eve in the Garden of Eden and the “savage man” as depicted in the artist’s self-portraits.

Ford (Running Away) 1901 Oil on canvas The Pushkin Museum of Fine Art, Moscow, Russia ©The State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow
Ford (Running away), Paul Gauguin (1891). Via MOMAT

Faa iheihe 1898 Oil on canvas Tate Gallery, London ©Tate, London 2008
Faa iheihe
, Paul Gauguin (1898). Via MOMAT

One Response to “Go See – Tokyo: Paul Gauguin at MOMAT, The Japan National Museum of Modern Art, through September 23, 2009”

  1. Nina Kuriloff Says:

    I am enjoying Gauguin’s palette.
    His sculpture is lovely, too!

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