Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A Touch of Class, Part V – Tahitian Treats

As long time readers know, I own a Tahitian island. As a result, I’ve always been partial to the work of the great post-impressionist Paul Gauguin. Much of his best work was painted in Tahiti where he lived all but two of the years between 1891 and his death in 1904. Gauguin was adept at capturing primitive yet exotic Tahitian scenes, such as Nevermore, O Tahiti painted in 1897 (note the exotic bird in the window).

Gauguin greatly admired the impressionists, and Camille Pissarro was one of his early mentors. But like his friend, Vincent Van Gogh, he gradually moved beyond the impressionist’s slavish devotion to naturalism. This can be seen in the use of unnatural looking oranges, reds, greens, and yellows in The Bathers, also painted in 1897 and now residing in the National Gallery of Art.

And of course, there is Gauguin’s masterpiece from 1892, Spirit of the Dead Watching, one of the featured paintings in Roger Kimball’s The Rape of the Masters: How Political Correctness Sabotages Art. It is almost worth the trip to Buffalo to visit it at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

Things have changed considerably in Tahiti since Gauguin’s day. I don’t subscribe much to the evils of globalization, but it cannot be denied that the westernization of the native dress in Tahiti has been a negative. Still, spending time with Gauguin’s work does make one want to fire up the Boeing Business Jet and make for the island.

(Click here for the previous installment of A Touch of Class.)

UPDATE: For those like commenter Chad who prefer fruit punch to great art, go here.


Anonymous Paul said...

Gaugin was a great artist and a fascinating person. Through his art, we glimpse a view that is fast fading from our view.

8:52 AM  
Blogger Chad The Elder said...

I'm very disappointed Sisyphus. Based on the title, I thought this post was going to be on one my favorite sugar-infused soft drinks of youth, the incomparable "Tahitian Treat." Good times, good times.

1:41 PM  

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