Gauguin Artist as Alchemist Gloria Groom, Claire Bernardi, Isabelle Cahn, Ophélie Ferlier, Dario Gamboni, Gloria Groom, Allison Perelman, Harriet Stratis

Publication date:
08 Jul 2017
Art Institute of Chicago
320 pages: 305 x 241mm
404 color illus.

An unprecedented exploration of Gauguin’s works in various media, from works on paper to clay and furniture

Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) was a creative force above and beyond his legendary work as a painter. Surveying the full scope of his career-spanning experiments in different media and formats—clay, works on paper, wood, and paint, as well as furniture and decorative friezes—this volume delves into his enduring interest in craft and applied arts, reflecting on their significance to his creative process. Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist draws on extensive new research into the artist’s working methods, presenting him as a consummate craftsman—one whose transmutations of the ordinary yielded new and remarkable forms.
Beautifully designed and illustrated, this book includes essays by an international team of scholars who offer a rich analysis of Gauguin’s oeuvre beyond painting. By embracing other art forms, which offered fewer dominant models to guide his work, Gauguin freed himself from the burden of artistic precedent. In turn, these groundbreaking creative forays, especially in ceramics, gave new direction to his paintings. The authors’ insightful emphasis on craftsmanship deepens our understanding of Gauguin’s considerable achievements as a painter, draftsman, sculptor, ceramist, and printmaker within the history of modern art. 

Gloria Groom is chair of European painting and sculpture and David and Mary Winton Green Curator of 19th-Century European Painting and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago.