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Gauguin opens window on the exotic in Madrid

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Gauguin opens window on the exotic in Madrid

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“Gauguin and the Voyage to the Exotic” at the Thyssen Museum in Madrid is a major exhibition that reflects the Frenchman’s artistic search for inspiration in primitive and natural worlds that he considered still uncontaminated by civilization.

“Gauguin teaches us to see the exotic from within. He becomes a savage and no longer sees the exotic from the Western standpoint but from the point of view of the native,” said curator Paloma Alarco.

After his stay in Martinique, painting canvases such as the 1887 work “Coming and Going”, in 1892 Gauguin settled on Tahiti as the place to build his imaginary paradise.

“It is a nature that is exuberant… that overwhelms you. But at the same time Gauguin transforms this nature into a kind of arcadia. For example, “Mata Mua” is not a real vision of Tahiti but a dream filtered through the mind of Gauguin,” said Alarco.

This encounter with the exotic sometimes borders on ethnography, in which the painter notes the types and varieties of ethnic groups.

South Seas Islanders are captured in detail by Emil Nolda, one of several other artists, such as Matisse, Kandinsky, Klee and Macke, brought together in the “Gauguin and the Voyage to the Exotic” exhibition, to look at how Gauguin influenced German Expressionism and the Fauves.

The Madrid show ends in early January.

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