From February 19 to June 6, 2010 "Paul Gauguin: The Breakthrough into Modernity" will be on view in the Van Gogh Museum
(exhibition wing). This exhibition is the first to devote attention to the 'Volpini Suite': a series of prints that Gauguin (1848-1903) exhibited in monsieur Volpini's Café des Arts during the Paris Exposition of 1889. The 11 zincographs offer a fascinating overview of the key themes in the artist's work: from the exotic landscapes of Martinique to scenes of Brittany and Arles.
The exhibition will also show works by Gauguin and his friends closely linked to the 'Volpini Suite'. Altogether there will be some 60 works of art (paintings, works on paper, sculptures and ceramics) on view, including key pieces such as "Be Mysterious" (Musée d'Orsay), "Breton Girls Dancing" (National Gallery of Art, Washington), "Self-portrait" (Pushkin Museum, Moscow) and "Is There News" (Gemälde galerie Neue Meister, Dresden). The recent acquisition of the Van Gogh Museum, "Breton Girl Spinning" will also be on show. "Paul Gauguin:
The Breakthrough into Modernity" has been organized in collaboration with the Cleveland Museum of Art, where it will run until 18 January 2010.
Gauguin created the series of prints later to become known as the 'Volpini Suite' at the instigation of the art dealer Theo van Gogh, as a way of drawing attention to his paintings. The Van Gogh Museum acquired an edition of the 'Volpini Suite' in 2004. The series represents an important addition to the Museum's print collection, which gives a comprehensive view of the most important developments in Parisian graphics production during the final two decades of the 19th-century.
Alongside works by Gauguin, the L'Exposition de Peintures du Groupe Impressioniste et Synthétiste in the Café des Arts comprised work by Charles Laval, Emile Bernard and Louis Anquetin among others. In the rebel tradition of Gustave Courbet and Eduard Manet, the artists had organized their own exhibition as a counterpart to the established art being shown at the Paris World's Fair. It was the first joint presentation by a group of artists who were to become known as the Pont-Aven School. Gauguin and his friends had rejected Impressionism and Realism in favor of Synthetism, a style characterized by a simplification of form and color into flat, rhythmic patterns and undulating lines. This new movement became a major source of inspiration for "Les Nabis", a group of avant-garde artists working in Paris in the period 1890-1905, and other artists.