Currently on view at the Art Institute of Chicago, Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist, takes an in-depth look at Post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin’s creative process and how he challenged cultural, geographic, and material boundaries.
Perhaps best known for his paintings of women in idyllic Tahitian settings, Paul Gauguin was an artist whose career spanned the globe and whose prolific body of work flouts categorization. An expert at self-promotion, Gauguin shed the social and artistic conventions of the time to defy definition and transform the perception of what it meant to live within the realm of complete artistic freedom. Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist runs June 25-September 10, 2017, and explores the artist’s unpredictable and, at times, fantastical forays into the applied arts while situating them within his radically experimental oeuvre as a whole. Featuring his work in ceramics, woodcarving, printmaking, and furniture decoration, and their relationship to his canvases, the exhibition acknowledges the artist as a visionary and controversial figure.
“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
Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist is the most comprehensive examination of the artist’s all-consuming interest in craft and decorative arts. Moving beyond Paul Gauguin’s renowned work as a painter, the exhibition features a diverse selection of his creative output. Featuring some 240 works, it includes the largest ever public presentation of his existing ceramics and groupings of objects reunited for the first time since leaving his studio. This unusual exhibition and installation considers Gauguin’s radically inventive art-making processes resulting from the material explorations of his many and varied residences from France to the Polynesian islands.
After its debut at the Art Institute, Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist travels to the Grand Palais in Paris.
work: Mahana no atua (Day of the God), 1894 Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection.
The Art Institute of Chicago collects, preserves, and interprets works of art of the highest quality, representing the world’s diverse artistic traditions, for the inspiration and education of the public. Founded in 1879, the museum is home to approximately 300,000 works of art from all cultures and historical periods, spanning every medium, and host to more than 30 special exhibitions per year. Address is 111 South Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL.
To plan your visit, obtain an exhibition catalog, or explore the exhibition online go to