Henri Dorra

The symbolism of Paul Gauguin : erotica, exotica, and the great dilemmas of humanity

University of California press

Berkeley, 2007

bibliothèque insulaire

 
peintres des îles

Gauguin

parutions 2007
The symbolism of Paul Gauguin : erotica, exotica, and the great dilemmas of humanity / Henri Dorra ; foreword by Richard R. Bretell ; afterword by Gabriel P. Weisberg. - Berkeley : University of California press, 2007. - XVII-361 p. : ill. ; 26 cm.
ISBN 0-520-24130-4
DESCRIPTION : In this magisterial book, Henri Dorra synthesizes more than fifty years of study to present a comprehensive examination of Paul Gauguin's symbolism. Drawing on his profound grasp of the artistic and social contexts in which Gauguin worked, Dorra provides new, complex insights into and interpretations of Gauguin's multilayered symbolism. The Symbolism of Paul Gauguin is lavishly illustrated with a major visual compendium of the artist's prodigious output. The highly readable narrative, based on a sophisticated understanding of Gauguin's oeuvre, offers a masterly interpretation of recurrent images and their interrelationships in the contemporaneous artistic and social context.

Dorra discusses Gauguin's iconography and the artist's treatments of similar themes in various media, from prepatory drawings for paintings to related ceramics and wood carvings. He traces Gauguin's meanings in literary sources from classical mythology and the Bible to late ninetheenth-century literature. He also links the form and content of the artist's work to his unusual ancestry and upbringing. As the final scholarly work by an internationally recognized expert on nineteenth-century French symbolism, this book provides a profound new perspective on Gauguin and his work.

Henri Dorra (1924-2002) was Professor Emeritus of Art History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His books include Symbolist Art Theories: A Critical Anthology (UC Press).
GABRIEL P. WEISBERG (…)

In many ways, the book is a summation of [Henri Dorra's] scholarly career. He reexamines Gauguin's own writings, contemporary texts, and modern interpretations. But he never loses sight of the paintings, the prints, the sculptures — the full range of Gauguin's creative output. The heart of the matter, however, is the motif : what it meant to the artist, to the time, to our own era. These symbols range from the pantheon of Polynesian deities to common dream images, from the messiah to portents of death, all suffused with a luminous sensuality and an earthly sexuality. The Symbolism of Paul Gauguin : Erotica, Exotica, and the Great Dilemma of Humanity is a fitting capstone to a life of the mind that can serve as an inspiration to others intent on feeling, seeing, and thinking about art in fresh ways.  (…)

Henri Dorra : Scholar, Exemplar, Friend, p. 278
CONTENTS Foreword : Henri Dorra and Paul Gauguin, by Richard R. Brettell
Preface

PART I : BACKGROUND AND EARLY SYMBOLISM
  • Gauguin's heritage : his family and their nineteenth-century world
  • Budding symbolism
PART II : THE BRITTANY PERIOD
  • Caricatures and friendships
  • The great dilemmas of humanity
  • The artist as messiah
  • Visions of death, visions of escape
PART III : FIRST TAHITIAN PERIOD
  • From Papeete to Mataiea
  • The Polynesian pantheon
  • Desire of the night
  • Paris furlough
PART IV : THE LAST RETREATS
  • The last years in Tahiti
  • Hiva Oa
Afteword : Henri Dorra : scholar, exemplar, friend, by Gabriel P. Weisberg
Note, Selected bibliography, List of illustrations, Index
COMPLÉMENT BIBLIOGRAPHIQUE
  • « Ia orana Maria », Metropolitan museum of art bulletin, may 1952
  • « The first Eves in Gauguin's Eden », La Gazette des beaux-arts, mars 1953
  • « More on Gauguin's Eves », La Gazette des beaux-arts, février 1967
  • « Gauguin's unsympathetic observers », La Gazette des beaux-arts, décembre 1970
  • « Le " texte Wagner " de Gauguin », Bulletin de la Société de l'histoire de l'art français, 1984
  • « Gauguin et l'émancipation de la femme », in Actes du collogue Gauguin, Musée d'Orsay, 11-13 janvier 1989, Paris : La Documentation française, 1991
  • « Ein nur allzu menschliches Paradies : Gauguins Symbolismus in Tahiti », in Paul Gauguin, von der Bretagne nach Tahiti : ein Aufbruch zur Moderne, Tulln : Milleniumsverlag, 2000
  • Henri Dorra (ed.), « Symbolist art theories : a critical anthology », Berkeley : University of California press, 1994

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