An exhibit of paintings by Paul Gauguin, including many of the infamous Gauguin Tahitians, went on display at the Tate Modern in London in September of 2010. This exhibition of Gauguin at Tate Modern marks the first time in over 50 years that Gauguin paintings have been shown in a large collection in Europe. The exhibit proved so popular that the Tate Modern website stated that viewers should expect long delays for admittance. In February, the same collection of Gauguin artwork opened at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Curators there expect much the same response from enthusiastic art lovers in the United States. Even Apple is getting on the Gauguin-loving bandwagon: the company produced an iPhone application that downloads images from the exhibit to your phone, along with commentary from curators at the Tate Modern.

Gauguin painting has always been controversial. During his time in Tahiti, Gauguin looked for a way to express the truly native and primitive. In Adam and Eve, for example, a native couple is shown with a backdrop of wild and dark vegetation. Animals of all sorts swirl around their feet and above their heads, as a benevolent angel looks down. In Arearea, yet more female figures are shown in a fantastical landscape, surrounded by flowers and wild animals. While in Tahiti, Gauguin often explored the erotic side of painting, using younger female models in provocative and suggestive poses. In the Gauguin painting, And the Gold of their Bodies, nude female models sit in inviting poses, their skin glowing brightly from the landscape.

Gauguin paintings also contain a bold and shocking color palette, the likes of which had simply not been seen previously. Contrast the bold pink and red ground in Delightful Day with the realistic muted colors of Cliff Near Dieppe from Gauguin's Impressionist period. Note how the browns and blues of the vegetation in the Impressionist painting have been nearly banished from the later work. Planes have been flattened. Realism has been cast aside. Color takes primacy, along with primitivism.

Gauguin was, at this time, cultivating his own savage personality to match his artwork. He called himself a savage; he began to dress outlandishly; he drank and fought. The Gauguin exhibit contains many self-portraits that demonstrate this progression from Parisian socialite to wild man.

Gauguin, experts say, was always interested in being famous. He made himself outlandish, he made his paintings controversial, he made his art shocking, all in order to garner attention and bring himself wealth and fame. It seems that now, long after his death, he has gotten his wish. Lines are long for his exhibits, his iPhone app introduces his art to younger and younger audiences, and his obsession with youth and unspoiled landscapes seems a modern preoccupation.

Browse our collection of Gauguin paintings to see more examples of Gauguin paintings. The Gauguin Tahitians are well represented here, as are Gauguin paintings from his Impressionist period. Let our artists recreate a painting just for you. Study our Gauguin artwork reproductions while listening to your iPhone Gauguin app, or simply let the colors and lines wash over you.