A colourist of unfading universal appeal, Paul Gauguin painted as he lived. He was bold, uncompromising, and unconventional. Throughout his eventful life – a childhood in Peru, sailing to the Polar circle, painting in Rouen, married life in Denmark, then maturing on the perfumed shores of Polynesia – his human interactions oscillated between the depths of despair to hedonistic abandon. He antagonised family, friends, critics and the authorities in equal measure, and stared poverty, disease, divorce and suicide in the face. Despite all of this, or perhaps because of it, he left behind a fascinating body of work that’s as enigmatic as it’s timeless.
In mounting this exhibition, the most dazzling exploration of his oeuvre to date, the Fondation Beyeler has pulled off an exceptional coup, having worked with a passion worthy of the man himself. Six years of exhaustive preparation and featuring priceless works on loan from collections spanning 13 countries – from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris to the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg – no stone has been left unturned. One of the cultural highlights of the year.
Tip: The Fondation is situated upon Switzerland’s border with Alsace and is accessible by car or an easy tram ride from Saint-Louis on the French side.
Paul Gauguin, February 8 – June 28, Fondation Beyeler, Baselstrasse 101, Riehen 4125, Switzerland. Open daily 10am-6pm. Wednesdays until 8pm. Entry is 25 Fr (approx €21). Tel: +41 61 645 97 00
From France Today magazine