cover image Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin

Rizzoli, Hoog, Michel Hoog. Rizzoli International Publications, $85 (332pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-0843-4

Gauguin's flight to Tahiti was more than a dreamer's quest for paradise; his life was a continual search for a simpler, cheaper place to live and work. This superb, levelheaded study by the chief curator of the Orangerie in Paris challenges many popular notions about this elusive artist. Hoog notes that Gauguin's move to Brittany, though a prelude to Oceania, was in no way revolutionary. He explores the feelings of rivalry between the painter and van Gogh, as these two unyielding personalities tackled similar themes. In tracing the chief influences on Gauguin, Hoog is enlightening without being pedantic. He argues that the renegade artist mapped his tropical eden with help from Raphael, Poussin, Delacroix and Giotto, who taught him a sense of antique beauty and a feeling for handling codified symbolism. The first-rate illustrations from every phase of his career are themselves a revelation. (January 4)