Fascinating at how modern Gauguin was in creating a myth of his own life as a marketing tool. He really understood the concept of “success de scandale” and doubtless was able to keep himself the talk of Paris with his rackety lifestyle and seduction of young women. Damian Hirst could have studied at his feet when it came to a talent for publicity.
This idea of life as carefully constructed myth was carried through into his art- he was in way a classical painter in his suggestions of narrative and backstory in many of his paintings. However his narratives were more allusive than classical art, which traded in a shared culture of commonly understood symbols. People knew how to read classical art. Gauguin however is about much more than narrative painting- His lush and erotically charged pictures are glorious and heady escapism in which you can wallow and day dream
The audio commentary at the tate was good but i sensed that the people who produced it didnt really approve of Gauguin and felt the need for some political correctness over his seduction of young women and publicity seeking. There was one absolutely desperate attempt at a feminist critique that i sensed the commentator didnt really believe in herself