With its 47 works by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) the Glyptotek covers the whole of his artistic development – from Paris, via Copenhagen, to Brittany and Tahiti.
Gauguin is one of the most important artists of the 19th century. He is famous for his Tahiti pictures (1891-1903), but his entire oeuvre shows him to be one of the pioneers of modern art. Gauguin started as an amateur painter whose point of departure was in French landscapes (Corot, Pissarro), but rapidly lost interest in painting simple impressions of such scenes. His search moved towards simple forms and pure colours, and Gauguin gives shadows, light and colours symbolic meaning far beyond an Impressionist representation of nature. His art draws on many sources, from literature and mythology to ethnographica and photography.
Gauguin often referred to himself as “Oviri” – the Tahitian for ‘savage’. He invented his own form of “primitive” art, inspired in equal parts by the European tradition and Polynesian culture – in an intense quest for a new art, which could represent the human being, the erotic and the mysterious depths of life.
The collection of French paintings is closed to the public at the moment due to the museum's preparations for this summer's major exhibition, Degas' Method.
The strength of the Glyptotek’s Gauguin collection is owing to two people in particular:
Mette Gad (1850-1920), Gauguin’s Danish wife, who managed his work and artistic estate from 1885 to his death – and the heir to the Carlsberg brewery and the Glyptotek, Helge Jacobsen (1882-1946). An enthusiastic collector, Jacobsen bought the first Gauguin pictures for the museum as early as 1914, and bequeathed his private collection to the Glyptotek. Since then the Ny Carlsberg Foundation has had the good fortune to be able to expand the collection with various important works by the artist.