Calendar Search
Event Calendar

Visit Home Event Calendar Event Information

A Pretty Piece of Painting? Thoughts on Gauguin's Arii Matamoe (The Royal End) (lecture)

Date: Sunday, July 13, 2008
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Getty Center, Museum Lecture Hall
Admission: Free; reservations required.

A severed human head dominates Paul Gauguin's spectacular painting Arii Matamoe, which recently joined the permanent collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center. An atmospheric and fanciful evocation of Polynesian death rites, the painting is rich with images derived from non-Western sources, including skull motifs, Tiki sculptures, and a mourning figure inspired by a Peruvian mummy.

Arii Matamoe / Gauguin

Scott Allan, assistant curator of paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum, discusses the many layers of Arii Matamoe, situating it in the context of Gauguin's career, his fascination with Polynesian culture, and his ties to Symbolism, which used dreamlike and sometimes bizarre imagery to evocative effect. With its intense colors and oppressive evocation of death, was the painting intended to shock Gauguin's Parisian audience? Is the severed head a symbol for the demise of traditional Polynesian society, perhaps referring to the death of the last king of Tahiti? Does the painting mark a shift in Gauguin's art, and if so, how?

The paintings galleries will be open both before and after the lecture, allowing you to examine the painting firsthand and draw your own conclusions.

About Scott Allan
Scott Allan is assistant curator of paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum and an expert in French art of the 19th century. At the Getty, he has curated several exhibitions, including Consuming Passion: Fragonard's Allegories of Love and Manet's Bar at the Folies-Bergère. He is currently working on an exhibition of the work of Jean-Léon Gérôme.

How to Get Here
The Getty Center is located at 1200 Getty Center Drive in Los Angeles, California, approximately 12 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. See Hours, Directions, Parking for maps and driving directions.

Arii Matamoe / Gauguin

Event Information by E-Mail
Be the first to know about upcoming lectures, concerts, and exhibitions by signing up for our free e-newsletters. Learn more and sign up now.