• Events
Oct 19
Casual Creators Online | Atlanta
Film Series
Champs-Élysées Film Festival in Chicago Online & In-Person University of Chicago & Alliance Francaise de Chicago

Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist

“It’s precisely an endless kind of art that I’m interested in, rich in all sorts of techniques, suitable for translating all the emotions of nature and humanity.” —Paul Gauguin, 1903


Best known for his paintings of women in idyllic Tahitian settings, Paul Gauguin was an artist whose career spanned the globe and whose works defy categorization. In his famous self-portrait from 1891–90, he chose to represent himself as an artist who excelled in both two and three dimensions, flanking his image with one of his most iconic paintings, The Yellow Christ (1889), and one of his most important ceramics, Self-Portrait in Form of a Grotesque Head (1889).

This exhibition—organized by the Art Institute of Chicago, the Musée d’Orsay, and the Réunion des musées nationaux–Grand Palais—is the first to delve into his radical experiments in the applied arts, underscoring his highly personal achievements not only as a painter but also as a sculptor, ceramist, printmaker, and decorator.

Utilizing new research into his working processes, the exhibition sheds light on Gauguin’s identity as an artist-artisan, looking at moments when he stood at an artistic crossroads and found new direction by exploring unconventional media and methods.

The exhibition features some 240 works, including the largest-ever public presentation of his ceramics, the reunion and display of related works side-by-side, and a selection of ethnographic objects that reveals his sources of inspiration. Together these works attest to Gauguin’s expansive notions of what art should be and his embrace of multimedia, installation, and found objects long before these concepts were considered artistic practices.

After its debut at the Art Institute, Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist travels to the Grand Palais in Paris.