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Uniting Gauguin’s paintings for the first time

October 25th, 2016


Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov with Gauguin’s triptych. L-R: Paul Gauguin, Vision of the Sermon (Jacob Wrestling with the Angel), 1888. oil on canvas, 73 × 92 cm. Scottish National Gallery. © National Galleries of Scotland. Paul Gauguin. Le Christ Jaune, 1889. oil on canvas, 92.1 × 73.3 cm. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, General Purchase Funds, 1946 (1946:4). © Albright-Knox Art Gallery/Art Resource, NY./Tom Loonan Paul Gauguin. Christ in the Garden of Olives, 1889. oil on canvas, 72.4 × 91.4 cm. Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida, Gift of Elizabeth C. Norton, 46.5. Courtesy, Norton Museum of Art.

Over the decades the AGO has taken pride in bringing great works of art to our city and province. But Mystical Landscapes offers a special twist on this tradition. We’ve installed three masterpieces by Paul Gauguin as he originally conceived them, side-by-side like a medieval altarpiece, in a design that he imagined but never lived to realize. It’s the first time ever the three paintings have been hung according to his novel plan, brought to Toronto from Edinburgh, Buffalo and West Palm Beach. Displayed at the very beginning of the show, together they create an unforgettable moment of not just intense colour, but equally intense spirituality.

During the late 1880s Gauguin painted three of his most important works in Brittany: Vision after the Sermon; The Yellow Christ; and Christ in the Garden of Olives. There he was inspired by the Breton people’s unique language, culture, and rugged, spiritually-charged landscape. In Brittany Gauguin became a mystic, embarking on a life-long personal quest for spiritual fulfillment. Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov, who participated in the development of the exhibition, has suggested for the first time that the three paintings belong together. As an ensemble they reveal stages in Gauguin’s search for the mystical at a troubled time in his life when he grieved for a lost daughter and felt alienated from society, and even the art world.

This will be the first and last time these paintings hang together. Only two are making it to Paris. See it with your own eyes.  Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, Van Gogh and more runs to January 29.



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