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the jerk

February 25, 2011

[NYTimes] Paul Gauguin was a dreadful man who made some beautiful art. That’s the present take on him. In his craving for fame and fulfillment he dumped his family, bullied his friends, ripped off ideas and lied about his past. His book “Noa Noa,” which he advertised as an account of his life in Tahiti, was largely fantasy, mostly plagiarized. If he published it today, Oprah would be demanding an apology.

But then there’s the art. Gauguin’s South Seas paintings, with their fragrant, crushed-fruit colors — guava yellows, lime greens, melon pinks — and their opium-trance scenes of a tropical Eden, are addictively devourable. There’s nothing else like them. No wonder museums keep finding reasons to serve them up. (read)

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