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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Postgraduate Course: Perspectives on Gauguin: from the 19th to the 21st centuries (HIAR11087)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryPaul Gauguin¿s colourful persona, complex art and peripatetic career have been the subject of much new research in recent decades, stimulating varied exhibitions around the world and numerous publications, mostly available in English. The proposed course builds on that body of work, as well as on the proposer¿s expertise: Belinda Thomson has published two monographs on Gauguin (1987, 1994) and, in the last decade, been the lead curator of two major Gauguin exhibitions as well as the outside consultant of another. While focusing on a single artist¿s oeuvre allows students to understand the discipline and challenges of monographic work, the course will also investigate the ways in which Gauguin¿s career, intersecting as it did with broader currents at the end of the nineteenth century, was both typical and extraordinary. Touching upon topics such as Impressionism and Symbolism, artistic identity and public image, and the broader cultural and political issues of gender roles, primitivism, colonialism, global travel and exoticism, Perspectives on Gauguin will provide a lens through which to understand the art of fin-de-siècle France.
Course description Seminar topics:
1. Introduction: The Artist¿s Life (1848-1903): Myth and Reality. Crafting a public persona within the avant-garde. (Lecture BT)
2. Gauguin and Impressionism (1875-1886). Learning and assimilating from Pissarro, Monet, Guillaumin, Cézanne, Degas.
3. Conflict and anti-Parisianism: Brittany and Martinique. Gauguin versus Seurat, Signac and neo-Impressionism. Gauguin as Sculptor and Ceramicist.
4. Avant-garde camaraderie, avant-garde rivalry. Gauguin and Emile Bernard in Pont-Aven; Gauguin and Van Gogh in Arles. Gauguin and the 1889 Universal Exhibition.
5. (1889-91) Reinventing the artist: Gauguin as visionary. Catholicism, Symbolist Criticism and Gauguin¿s Vision of the Sermon. Visit to the National Gallery of Scotland.
6. Innovative Learning week.
7. (1891-3) The Lure of the Tropics. Gauguin and Tahiti: myths and realities of colonial Polynesia. Global cultural appropriation. Reinventing artistic tradition.
8. (1893-5) Gauguin the Primitive. Questions of public reception. An art contesting or complicit with cultural, racial and gender stereotypes?
9. (1895-1901) Gauguin the public philosopher. World religions. Approaches to a masterpiece: Where Do We Come From?
10. (1901-1903) Gauguin in the Marquesas; Gauguin as printmaker. The Artist in his own words: letters and polemics. Noa Noa, Racontars de rapin, Avant et après.
11. Gauguin¿s Legacy. Victor Segalen; Roger Fry & Bloomsbury; Somerset Maugham. Gauguin, Picasso and Matisse. Assessing Gauguin¿s global impact.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2014/15, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 166 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course, students will have:
¿ a sound knowledge of the chronology of Gauguin¿s career and stylistic development
¿ the ability to understand the pros and cons of monographic study, and the extent to which it is legitimate to raise questions about broader cultural issues via the prism of a single artist
¿ the ability to analyse and question style labels and their discussion in the literature
¿ familiarity with recent historiography on Gauguin
¿ ability to look closely at works of art and make use of visual evidence
¿ an understanding of the challenges and limitations of presenting works of art and art historical arguments in exhibition displays
¿ confidence in organising and delivering an individual presentation on an assigned topic, using visual IT applications to support and enhance work
Reading List
Childs, Elizabeth C., Vanishing Paradise, Art and Exoticism in Colonial Tahiti, Berkeley and Los Angeles 2013.
Dorra, Henri, The Symbolism of Paul Gauguin, Erotica, Exotica and the Great Dilemmas of Humanity, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 2007.
Eisenman, Stephen F., Gauguin¿s Skirt, London 1997.
Jirat-Wasiutyenski, Voytech and H. Travers Newton Jr., Technique and Meaning in the Paintings of Paul Gauguin, Cambridge 2000.
Malingue Maurice (ed.), English translation by H. Stenning, Gauguin¿s Letters to his Wife and Friends, London 1948.
Mathews, Nancy Mowll, Paul Gauguin: An Erotic Life, New Haven, 2001.
Merlhès, Victor (ed.), Correspondance de Paul Gauguin, Vol. 1 (1873-1888), Paris 1984.
Pollock, Griselda, Avant-Garde Gambits 1888-1893: Gender and the Colour of Art History, London 1992.
Prather, Marla & Charles Stuckey (eds.), Gauguin: A Retrospective, New York 1987.
Rewald, John, Post-Impressionism: from Van Gogh to Gauguin, London 1978.
Roskill, Mark, Van Gogh, Gauguin and the Impressionist Circle, London 1970.
Silverman, Deborah, Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Search for Sacred Art, New York 2000.
Sweetman, David, Paul Gauguin, A Complete Life, London 1995.
Thomson, Belinda, Gauguin, London 1987, 2000.
Thomson, Belinda (ed.), Gauguin by Himself, Boston & London 1993, 1998., the web edition of the Vincent Van Gogh letters, Amsterdam 2009.
Wildenstein, Daniel (ed.), Gauguin: A Savage in the making, Catalogue raisonné of the paintings, 1873-1888, 2 vols. Paris and Milan 2002.

Exhibition catalogues:
Cachin, Françoise, et al., The Art of Paul Gauguin (Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Art Institute of Chicago, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris) Washington 1988, Paris 1989.
Druick, Douglas, and Peter Kort Zegers, Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Studio of the South (Exh. cat. Art Institute of Chicago, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam), Chicago 2001-2.
Ives, Colta, and Susan Alyson Stein (eds.), The Lure of the Exotic: Gauguin in New York Collections (Exh. cat. The Metropolitan Museum of Art) New York 2002.
Shackelford, George & Claire Frèches-Thory, Gauguin Tahiti (Exh. cat. Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), Paris 2003, Boston 2004.
Brettell, Richard and Anne-Birgitte Fonsmark, Gauguin and Impressionism (Exh. cat. Ordrupgaard, Copenhagen), Fort Worth 2005.
Thomson, Belinda, with essays by Frances Fowle and Lesley Stevenson, Gauguin¿s Vision (Exh. cat. National Gallery of Scotland) Edinburgh 2005.
Eisenman, Stephen F. (ed.) et al., Paul Gauguin: Artist of Myth and Dream (Exh. cat. Complesso del Vittoriano), Rome 2007.
Lemonedes, Heather, Belinda Thomson, Agnieszka Juszczak et al., Paul Gauguin: Paris, 1889/ Paul Gauguin: The Breakthrough into Modernity (Exh. cat. Cleveland Museum of Art, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam), Ostfildern 2009.
Thomson, Belinda (ed.), et al., Gauguin: Maker of Myth (Exh. cat. Tate, London, National Gallery of Art, Washington), London 2010.
Greub Suzanne (ed.), with contributions by Flemming Friborg et al., Gauguin Polynesia (Exh. cat. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, Seattle Art Museum), 2011.
Figura, Starr, et al., Gauguin Metamorphoses (Exh. cat. Museum of Modern Art, New York), 2014.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills ¿ Visual and critical analysis
¿ Independent research
¿ Presentation and communication skills
¿ Group work
¿ Organisation and planning
KeywordsImpressionism, Post-Impressionism, Symbolism, reception, art market, religion, myth-making, public i
Course organiserMrs Belinda Thomson
Course secretaryMiss Lizzie Robertson
Tel: (0131 6)51 5852
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