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February 08 , 2010

Paul Gauguin

The Mysterious Centre of Thought


French artist Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) once reproached the Impressionists for searching “around the eye and not at the mysterious centre of thought.” But what did he mean by this enigmatic phrase? In this innovative investigation into Gauguin’s art and thought, Dario Gamboni illuminates Gauguin’s quest for this “mysterious centre” and offers a fresh look at the artist’s output in all media—from ceramics and sculptures to prints, paintings, and his large corpus of writings.
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Foregrounding Gauguin’s conscious use of ambiguity, Gamboni unpacks what the artist called the “language of the listening eye.” Gamboni shows that the interaction between perception, cognition, and imagination was at the core of Gauguin’s work, and he traces a line of continuity in them that has been previously overlooked. Emulating Gauguin’s wide-ranging curiosity with literature, psychology, theology, and the natural sciences—not to mention the whole of art history—this richly illustrated book provides new insight into the life and works of this well-known yet little understood artist.

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