The Courtauld | Avant et après: Gauguin’s final words

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In 2020, The Courtauld acquired one of the most significant artists manuscripts ever to enter a UK public collection – a unique and richly illustrated text by Paul Gauguin (1848–1903). Offered to The Courtauld as part of the Government’s Acceptance in Lieu scheme administered by the Arts Council, Avant et après is the last major manuscript by Gauguin and the only example of his written manuscripts in the UK. It was written in 1903, the year of the artist’s death, at his home on the Marquesas island of Hiva Oa, French Polynesia. It had never been exhibited publicly and remained unstudied by scholars in its original form until it came to The Courtauld.
Part-memoir and part-manifesto, the 213-page manuscript, reveals important insights into Gauguin’s life, relationships and thoughts, and includes numerous drawings and prints by the artist.
Funded by The Getty Foundation’s “Paper Project”, this online-conference brings together scholars from all over the world to give a wide-ranging selection of papers focusing on Avant et après, including – amongst others – Gauguin’s literary influences, the Hiva Oa environment in which he was writing at the end of his life, and details about the making of the book which only became apparent once it could be studied at close quarters.
Speakers: Claire Bernardi (Director of the Musée de L’Orangerie, Paris); Professor Elizabeth Childs (Washington University in St Louis); Dr Elise Eckermann (Independent Art Historian, Frankfurt am Main); Professor Linda Goddard (University of St Andrews); Dr Monika Hinkel(SOAS, University of London); Yuki Kihara (award winning 2022 Venice Biennale artist); Professor Sylvie Largeaud-Ortega (University of French Polynesia); Giacomo Nerici (University of Milano-Bicocca); Professor Belinda Thomson (University of Edinburgh); Dr Caroline Vercoe (University of Auckland); Dr Rachel Sloan (The Courtauld); Kate Edmondson (The Courtauld); Dr Caroline Levitt (The Courtauld); Dr Rachel Hapoienu (The Courtauld).
Keynote speaker: Professor June E. Hargrove (University of Maryland)
Organised by Dr Ketty Gottardo (Martin Halusa Curator of Drawings, The Courtauld) and Dr Cathy Corbett (Research Assistant, The Courtauld).
This is an online event, booking will close 30 minutes before the event start time.
Details on how to join the online event will be sent out 48 hours before and on the day of the event. If you do not receive this information, please contact