judge a man

Paul Gauguin – What Are We? Where Are We Going?


Gauguin, on the evidence of this show, was a monstrous sexual predator, a near-perfect embodiment of the malignly lubricious male gaze, a man from France who took himself off to the French colonies, and not only sexually exploited many of the women he saw there, but also did his best to exoticize them in his paintings, to lay them out sideways, scantily clothed, in dreamy readiness for everyone-knows-what, and surround them with inscrutable ancestral gewgaws and snatches of mumbo-jumbo writing, all in the service of creating a seductively alluring species of art for mock-serious-minded, top-hatted collectors in Paris. Or so he hoped.

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