09 November 2007

Gauguin's "Tahitian Menu"


This original Gauguin stencil (colour pochoir), dated 1891, was unearthed from a recently deceased great uncle's abode along with an original Chagall I've yet to see.

Assuming that the piece is authentic -- the original owner was particularly known for his fudging of details -- it would have come from a period in Guaguin's career described thusly on Wikipedia:

"In 1891, Gauguin, frustrated by lack of recognition at home and financially destitute, sailed to the tropics to escape European civilization and 'everything that is artificial and conventional.' (Before this he had made several attempts to find a tropical paradise where he could 'live on fish and fruit' and paint in his increasingly primitive style, including short stays in Martinique and as a labourer on the Panama Canal construction, however he was dismissed from his job after only two weeks). Living in Mataiea Village in Tahiti, he painted "Fatata te Miti" ("By the Sea"), "Ia Orana Maria" (Ave Maria) and other depictions of Tahitian life."

I would venture to say "Tahitian Menu" is, as the title would suggest, a daily/weekly menu for a restaurant that hired the newly itinerant Gaugin as an in-house designer, a position which would elegantly accommodate the presentation of the establishment's revolving offerings. In looking at the curvature motivating Gauguin's undulating stroke, you would not be terribly unwise to assume that the proprieters of the establishment paid Gauguin solely in trade...food and change in exchange for art as indicated by the bucolic silhouettes driving the shape of the Tahitian damsel.

Anyway, back then, concessions weren't made for the masters passing through Tahiti.

Such would not be the case in 2007 because things are different now, but, honestly, isn't it daft to believe that could be even the slightest bit relevant to the discussion here or anywhere?

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