Gauguin: A Spiritual Journey showcases dozens of paintings, wood carvings, and ceramics from the collection of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen alongside works on paper and Oceanic art from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. As indicated by its title, the exhibition focuses on the artist’s interior life, exploring what drove him to keep creating and innovating. His personal and professional relationships; his extensive travels; and the art and photographs he accumulated are among the shaping forces examined. The works on view span his career, while representative carvings and images from New Zealand, the Marquesas Islands, and Tahiti offer insight into the history and culture of those places and why they captured his imagination.
Also featured in the show is New Zealand artist Yuki Kihara’s video installation First Impressions: Paul Gauguin, commissioned for the occasion. Shot in Samoa, it shows a group of Fa’afafine (“third gender” in Samoan culture) friends critiquing Gauguin paintings dating from his time in the Pacific.