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Guest Lecture: "Luxury for All the Senses: Gauguin’s Golden Paradise in "Three Tahitians" (1899)", by James Housefield PhD

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Gauguin, Three Tahitians

Paul Gauguin, Three Tahitians, 1899. Oil on canvas. Scottish National Gallery

Koret Auditorium

A talk in conjunction with Botticelli to Braque: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland.

This talk considers the ways that Gauguin’s painting Three Tahitians represents his quest to produce multi-sensory works. The work adapted centuries of experimentation by artists who worked to overcome the visual nature of art to appeal to all five senses. In the galleries of the de Young, like in the National Galleries of Scotland, Gauguin’s work hangs near a painting by Diego Velázquez, An Old Woman Cooking Eggs (1618). Both paintings are “allegories of the senses.” In an illustrated talk, James Housefield investigates the ways Gauguin sought to engage multiple senses in his audiences, culminating in Three Tahitians. Examining the place of this masterpiece in Gauguin’s career illuminates modern art’s pursuit of multi-sensory engagement.

Housefield is an assistant professor in the department of design and on the graduate faculties of art history, design, and French literature at UC Davis. He is the author of Playing with Earth and Sky: Astronomy, Geography, and the Art of Marcel Duchamp (Dartmouth, 2015), and currently working on a book titled Visionary Experiences and Altered States in the Art of Paul Gauguin. In another book in progress, Architectonics of the Page: Designing the Experience of Reading after Mallarmé, he examines Gauguin, Matisse, and Picasso as artist-authors.

Ticket Information

This program is free to the public, no ticket is required.

Contact Information

Mitzi Mathews
(415) 750-7694