The Gauguin Atlas

Yale Univ. Oct. 2019. 180p. ISBN 9780300237269. $22.50. FINE ARTS
From Arles, France, to New Zealand, Denekamp (The Vincent van Gogh Atlas) takes readers on a chronological and geographical tour of the influences in postimpressionist artist Paul Gauguin’s life and works. Owing to van Gogh’s influence in Arles, Gauguin started painting portraits again, experimented with van Gogh’s garish colors, became more interested in Japanese woodcuts, and tried his fellow artist’s subject matter. In New Zealand, while waiting ten days for his delayed return ship to Tahiti, Gauguin visited the Auckland Institute and Museum, where he saw the authentic Polynesian art he unsuccessfully sought in Tahiti. Gauguin abandoned his family, ended relationships and promising careers, all for his art. In the 1940s, those who remembered him said, “He was only nice when he needed something from you!” The book’s matte finish paper preserves the look of the vintage postcards, photographs, and maps, giving readers a feeling for the time. The translation work is excellent; one does not notice that the original book is in Dutch. Includes brief bibliography and Gauguin family tree.
VERDICT Both readable and well illustrated, this is for all who delight in biographies, whether art history buffs or general readers.
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