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Conversation: Gauguin—A Radical Dimension

September 7, 2017
3:00PM4:00PM
Fullerton Hall
Registration required

Gauguin specialists Elizabeth Childs, Washington University, and June Hargrove, University of Maryland, with curator Gloria Groom, discuss the relationship of Gauguin's sculptures and wood-carvings to his creative process. They explore how his radical experiments in three dimensions affect his overall approach to materials and techniques, resulting in deeply intertwined works of art that express profound meaning. 


About the Speakers

Elizabeth Childs is Department Chair and Etta and Mark Steinberg Professor of Art History at Washington University in St. Louis.  Her field is modern art, encompassing late eighteenth- through early twentieth-century European art and visual culture, broadly defined. She is a specialist in European avant-garde modernism (particularly painting, photography and prints).  In her work on Paul Gauguin, she has focused on the artist’s relationship to indigenous Tahitian and Marquesan culture as well as to colonial society, his work as a writer, his uses of photography, his interests in world religions and theosophy, and his construction of a primitivist identity.  In the classroom, Prof. Childs considers art in relation to its political, social and ideological cultures, with particular interest in art’s intersection with histories of colonialism, imperialism, tourism, anthropology and exploration. She is broadly interested in exoticism, orientalism and japonisme in both fine and popular arts, and their relationship to the study of gender and race; theories and practices of landscape painting and photography; modern art produced in cross-cultural and transnational contexts; and the collection, circulation and interpretation of non-western objects in the Euro-American art world. 

June Hargrove is Professor, Nineteenth-Century European Painting and Sculpture at the University of Maryland. She focuses on European art, particularly French, from the eighteenth century to the early twentieth century. Her scholarship investigates the historical context of art, with an emphasis on the impact of global transformations on style and content in painting and sculpture. In 2012 she received the Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters from the French Government for scholarship about the cultural heritage of France. Her 2014 exhibition on Albert Carrier-Belleuse: The Master of Rodin, for the Palace of Compiègne, north of Paris, explored the marriage of art and industry in the artist’s work, which ranged from sensuous Salon marbles to luxury objects in gold and modest utensils in zinc. The young Rodin collaborated with him intermittently over two decades.

Professor Hargrove has published a new book on the painting and sculpture of Paul Gauguin, reconsidering his final years in the Marquesas Islands. Her article “Paul Gauguin: Sensing the Infinite” appeared in Sensational Religion: Sense and Contention in Material Practice, edited by Sally Promey for Yale University Press.


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Paul Gauguin. Reclining Tropical Eve with a Fan, 1887–89. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.