The artist’s retreat: how the beauty of Martinique transformed Gauguin

Repeating Islands

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A review by Claire Wrathall for London’s Telegraph

About a mile north of the little town of Le Carbet, on the northwest coast of Martinique in the French Antilles, is a museum dedicated to the great post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin.

Unless you’re especially unlucky with the weather and in need of indoor entertainment, the Centre d’Interpretation du Patrimoine is not in itself especially worth the detour: it’s more about his work, and that of his fellow artist and protégé Charles Laval, than of it (though there are reproductions). But it will probably teach you something about the artists and the months they spent on Martinique in 1887, during which time Gauguin painted 17 works and made many more sketches.

“The experience I had in Martinique was decisive,” he wrote. “Only there did I feel my true self. If you want to know who I am, you should look for me in the…

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