Gauguin: A Spiritual Journey

By Christina Hellmich, Line Clausen Pedersen, Elizabeth C. Childs, Carol S. Ivory, Théano Jaillet, Yuki Kihara, Philippe Peltier, et al.

Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903) aspired to innovate as an artist, and this desire led him to travel from France to Tahiti, where he arrived under the auspices of the French Ministry of Fine Arts in 1891. Immersed in colonial Tahiti, with its complicated mix of ancient culture and modern religion, Gauguin explored the depths of his own spirituality and faith. Gauguin: A Spiritual Journey offers unique dialogues between pieces from across the artist’s oeuvre and the extraordinary art from the Pacific Islands that captured his imagination and inspired him. This vibrantly designed volume, published on the occasion of a major exhibition at the de Young in San Francisco and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, is the first to illuminate these objects in direct conversation with one another, capturing—through breathtakingly beautiful reproductions, detailed object descriptions, and pages from Gauguin’s own notebooks—the impressions that peoples from Pacific Island cultures had of the artist and his work. Gauguin: A Spiritual Journey is further contextualized by intriguing scholarly essays and filled with contemporary approaches to understanding a figure whose struggles, indulgences, awakenings, and betrayals undergird his art and spirit.


Christina Hellmich is curator in charge of the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Line Clausen Pedersen is curator of Danish and French nineteenth-century painting and sculpture at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Elizabeth C. Childs is the Etta and Mark Steinberg Professor of Art History and chair of the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Washington University in Saint Louis.

Carol S. Ivory is professor emerita of art history at Washington State University in Pullman.

Théano Jaillet is director and curator of the Musées de la Ville de Cannes.

Yuki Kihara is an interdisciplinary artist based in Sāmoa, whose work is held in the collections of the British Museum, London, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Philippe Peltier is conservateur général honoraire du patrimoine at the Musée du quai Branly, Paris, where he was in charge of the Pacific collections.

Agnès Penot is manager of Gallery 19C in Beverly Hills, California, and a specialist of nineteenth-century French art, the art market, and provenance.

Léa Saint-Raymond is an independent art historian specializing in French art and cofounder of GeoMAP, a digital repository of Parisian art dealers.

Belinda Thomson is honorary professor at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and an independent art historian specializing in late-nineteenth-century French art.

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