In 1887, friends and fellow artists Paul Gauguin and Charles Laval went to Martinique in search of fresh inspiration. The colourful works that they created on the island were now displayed together for the first time. The exhibition 'Gauguin & Laval in Martinique' was on view from 5 October 2018 to 13 January 2019.
5 October 2018 to 13 January 2019
Discontent with the decadent Parisian way of life, Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) and Charles Laval (1861-1894) escaped to the Caribbean island of Martinique in 1887. In the short time that they stayed on the island, they created a series of exquisite artworks. The trip had a huge impact on their further artistic development. The exhibition Gauguin & Laval in Martinique will feature the warm, vivid paintings, alongside their outstanding preliminary sketches and large, elaborate pastels.
In their artworks, Gauguin and Laval pesented Martinique as an umcomplicated paradise. In doing so, they glossed over the harsh everyday reality of life on the island.
Who was Charles Laval?
Charles Laval achieved success at the annual Salon exhibitions in Paris at a young age. After living in Paris for a few years, he moved to Pont-Aven (Brittany), where he met Paul Gauguin. After returning from Martinique, Laval became a significant painter in the Pont-Aven School. In 1890, Gauguin and Laval fell in love with the same woman, which brought their friendship to an end.
Our curators travelled to Martinique specially for this exhibition. They describe their visit in person in the multimedia guide. Only on the island itself, for instance, did they realize how faithfully Laval had rendered nature in his Landscape on Martinique.
Lecture 4 November
Conservators René Boitelle (Van Gogh Museum) and Harriet Stratis (Art Institute of Chicago) conducted extensive research on the works that Paul Gauguin made on Martinique. In this lecture they are keen to tell us more about the most intriguing results of their research.
Learn more about Gauguin and Laval’s stay in Martinique and how they continued to develop their new way of working after returning from the island. Virtually all the works the artists produced there are brought together for the first time, including numerous sketches and watercolours. Available in Dutch, English and French, paperback €25, from 5 October 2018 in the museum's sop and webstore