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The Museum of Modern Art in New York is hosting “Gauguin: Metamorphoses,” the first major monographic exhibition on Paul Gauguin ever presented at the institution. It is also the first show to focus on the Post-Impressionist artist’s rare prints and transfer drawings and their relationship to his better-known paintings and sculptures.

“Gauguin: Metamorphoses,” which features nearly 130 works on paper and 30 related paintings and sculptures, includes loans from public and private collections. Between 1889 and his death in 1903, Gauguin created the prints in discrete bursts of activity. He experimented with woodcuts, watercolor monotypes and large transfer drawings and often repeated and recombined key motifs from one image to another, allowing them to evolve across mediums.

In order to highlight the relationships among works across mediums, the exhibition is organized loosely by date and groups related works together. The show starts with “Zincographs: The Volpini Suite,” which was created in 1889 and includes Gauguin’s first prints.The 11 zincographs were created on zinc plates rather than the traditional limestone slabs used for lithography, which is indicative of Gauguin’s unconventional artistic choices. “Woodcuts: The Noa Noa Suite and The Vollard Suite” includes Gauguin’s first woodcuts. The Noa Noa Suite was created between 1893 and 1894 after the artist’s first trip to Tahiti and ushered in the modern era with its distinctly rough and “primitive” style. The Vollard Suite, created between 1898 and 1899 after Gauguin returned to Tahiti for the second and final time, explores figures and themes from his earlier works and serves as an abbreviated retrospective of his career. Additional sections are devoted to the watercolor monotypes that Gauguin created around the time he was making the Noa Noa woodcuts, and his oil transfer drawings, which were made using a technique he invented in 1899.   

“Gauguin: Metamorphoses” will be on view at MoMA through June 8, 2014. 

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