Gauguin

 
  • Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) 
    Old Women of Arles, from the Volpini Suite, 1889
    Zincograph on yellow wove paper
    Sheet: 17 1/4 x 21 3/8 in. (43.8 x 54.3 cm)
    Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1962.69

    The five zincographs on bright yellow paper in this exhibition are part of Gauguin’s Volpini Suite, a series of prints based loosely on his works in other media. The suite takes its name from the owner of the café where Gauguin and other avant-garde artists staged their own exhibition in opposition to the state-sanctioned Exposition Universelle. This sheet is based almost directly on a painting made in Arles during Gauguin’s two-month stay with Vincent van Gogh. The yellow paper used throughout the suite may reflect Gauguin’s esteem for Van Gogh’s sunflowers and his famous yellow house. 

  • Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) 
    Martinique Pastorals, from the Volpini Suite, 1889
    Zincograph on yellow wove paper
    Sheet: 17 ¼ x 21 5/8 in. (43.8 x 55 cm)
    Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1962.67

    The graceful curving lines of the rolling hillsides, the heart-shaped leaves, and the women in native dress evoke a timeless utopia, far from the cares of the modern world. In this print and others inspired by his travels to Martinique in 1886, Gauguin focused on activities of daily life. 

  • Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) 
    Human Misery, from the Volpini Suite, 1889
    Zincograph printed in reddish-brown ink with borderlines in graphite on yellow wove paper
    Sheet: 17 1/4 x 21 1/4 in. (43.9 x 53.9 cm)
    Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1962.61

    The sorrowful woman, head in hands, and the male figure with his brow clouded by shadow call to mind the fallen Adam and Eve with the Tree of Knowledge behind them. 

  • Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) 
    Joys of Brittany, from the Volpini Suite, 1889
    Zincograph on yellow wove paper
    Sheet: 17 ¼ x 21 1/4 in. (43.9 x 53.9 cm)
    Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1962.58

    This image of girls in regional dress performing a traditional dance is characteristic of the bucolic themes of Gauguin’s work in Brittany. With the deliberate naiveté of his manner and the mask-like faces of the young dancers, the artist sought to evoke the primitive quality that he perceived in this region of northern France. 

  • Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) 
    Breton Bathers, from the Volpini Suite, 1889
    Zincograph on yellow wove paper
    Sheet: 17 1/4 x 21 9/16 in. (43.8 x 54.7 cm)
    Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1962.59

    Gauguin’s emphasis on sinuous outline, along with the flattened space and upturned perspective, reveals his interest in Japanese prints. The image was drawn on a grained zinc plate with both crayon and tusche (a greasy liquid used in lithography) applied with a brush. This method of printmaking yields fine gradations from light to dark, as is evident here. 

  • Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) 
    Te Faruru (Here We Make Love), from Noa Noa, Winter 1893–94
    Woodcut printed in black, light brown, yellow, and red on cream wove paper, mounted on beige cardboard
    Sheet: 14 1/8 x 8 1/16 in. (35.9 x 20.5 cm)
    Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1962.70

    This woodcut and three others in this exhibition are from a famous series known as Noa Noa (meaning “fragrant scent” in Tahitian), inspired by Gauguin’s stay in Tahiti from 1891 to 1893. The networks of white lines scratched into and gouged out of the hard surface of boxwood are characteristic of Gauguin’s woodcut technique. In this work, they impart a spectral quality to the entwined bodies of the lovers who emerge out of the darkness of night. 

  • Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) 
    Te Atua (The Gods), from Noa Noa, Winter 1893–94
    Woodcut printed in black, brown, orange, red, and green on cream wove paper, mounted on beige cardboard
    Sheet: 8 1/8 x 14 1/16 in. (20.6 x 35.7 cm)
    Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1962.73

    In this frieze-like composition, a Javanese Buddha figure at center is flanked at left by two Tahitian gods: Hina, goddess of the moon, and her son Fatu, god of the earth. Above the central figure, the artist’s deep gouging into the woodblock creates an aura of pulsating light. 

  • Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) 
    Manao Tupapau (Watched by the Spirits of the Dead), from Noa Noa, Spring/summer 1894
    Woodcut printed in yellow, orange, and black on beige wove paper
    Sheet: 9 13/16 x 15 ¾ in. (25 x 40 cm)
    Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1981.152

    In this reinterpretation of one of his most famous paintings, Gauguin presents a nude in a pose that suggests both birth and death. Two spirits in the background at right watch over her ominously. 

  • Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) 
    Nave Nave Fenua (Delightful Land), from Noa Noa, Spring/summer 1894
    Woodcut printed in black, dark orange, and yellow, with stencils in red, on beige wove paper
    Sheet: 15 11/16 x 9 3/16 in. (39.3 x 23.3 cm)
    Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1962.72

    The warm tones in this image of a figure in a lush landscape — a Polynesian Eve — are an exception to the prevalence of black throughout the series.