Gauguin's Favorite Things

SAM’s new Gauguin show emphasizes the master painter's influences.

Paul Gauguin is known the world over for the vibrant paintings he produced while living on Tahiti and the Marquesas Islands. But the “primitive” objects that inspired him, which he sometimes referenced visually, are often glossed over in discussions of his work. Not so with Gauguin & Polynesia: An Elusive Paradise, the new show at the Seattle Art Museum.

Organized by the Art Centre Basel, this exhibit emphasizes the artistic integrity of the objects Gauguin portrayed by displaying relevant artifacts alongside his paintings. Elaborately carved wooden bowls, figurines cut from wood and stone, woven fans and head ornaments—a total of 66 artifacts are on display.

The artistry that went into creating these objects is in full evidence and deepens the context for the 50 gorgeous works by the Post-impressionist master. Seattle is the only U.S. stop on Gauguin’s grand tour, so don’t miss it.

2/9–4/29. Times and prices vary. Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave.; 206.654.3100;