Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Paul Gauguin's Studio as a Totalizing Work of Art
by McKinney, Brittany, M.A., University of California, Davis, 2011, 69; 1502287
Abstract (Summary)

Drawing upon the histories of collecting and interior design, as well as art history, this thesis demonstrates that Gauguin's studio interior created a totalizing work of art that put into practice Gauguin's distinct notion of the decorative, in order to promote himself as a connoisseur of the exotic.

From January 1894 until May 1895, Gauguin lived in an exotically decorated studio that synthesized his artworks of different media--paintings, sculptures, ceramics, prints, and space itself--into a unified whole that recalled the concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk ("total work of art") as conceived and popularized by Richard Wagner in the second half of the nineteenth century. With a decorative scheme that spotlighted his first Tahitian sojourn, Gauguin's studio provided a transformative experience for his visitors in the hope that it would enhance their engagement with his work. Gauguin also used his studio to promote a distinct public image, in which he presented himself as a connoisseur of native Tahitian culture. Producing both literary and visual work as evidence of his self-proclaimed dual-citizenship in French and Maori societies, Gauguin set himself apart from his contemporaries--and Parisian society as a whole--while remaining a visible and viable participant in the cultural marketplace. Though his stays in Paris and in the 1894 studio were brief, they represented an important period of both artistic and personal experimentation. To overlook the sixteen months that Gauguin spent in his studio obscures a great number of projects and experiences that arguably influenced his later work and continues to shape twenty-first-century perceptions of him.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Housefield, James E.
Commitee: Burnett, Katharine P., Strazdes, Diana
School: University of California, Davis
Department: Art History
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 50/03M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Art history
Keywords: Decorative, Gauguin, Paul, Gesamtkunstwerk, Publicity, Studio
Publication Number: 1502287
ISBN: 978-1-267-02519-7
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