Skip to product information
1 of 1

J. Paul Getty Museum

Arii Matamoe (The Royal End) gm-31027701

Arii Matamoe (The Royal End) gm-31027701

Regular price $40.00 USD
Regular price $50.00 USD Sale price $40.00 USD
Sale Sold out
Tax included. Shipping calculated at checkout.
Products
Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903) I have just finished a severed kanak [Pacific Islander] head, nicely arranged on a white cushion, in a palace of my invention and guarded by women also of my invention.
--Paul Gauguin

Writing to his friend Daniel de Monfreid, Paul Gauguin referenced in an almost offhand way this startling painting of a decapitated human head, which he made during his first stay in Polynesia in the early 1890s. Real events, from Tahitian King Pomare V's death soon after Gauguin's arrival, to the artist having witnessed a public execution by guillotine several years earlier, likely influenced its dark subject matter. Gauguin added the Tahitian words "Arii" and "Matamoe" in the canvas' upper left. The first means "noble;" the second, "sleeping eyes," a phrase that implies "death."

The notion of a human head ritually displayed in an ornate interior suggests the formality of a ruler lying in state, supported by the presence of sorrowful figures in the background. However, this scene doesn't correspond to actual accounts of Pomare V's funeral because the body wasn't decapitated. Gauguin was just as apt to fantasize about life in Polynesia as he was to document it. Bright reds, yellows, and pinks are juxtaposed with muted browns and purples to evoke a tropical sensibility. The rough, burlap-like canvas also hints at an exotic "primitivism." In his collage-illustrated book Noa Noa--which he began after his first trip to Tahiti--he included a copy of this painting and a comment that he thought of Pomare's death as a metaphor for the loss of native culture due to European colonization.

Symbolist artists, including Gauguin, had a predilection for images of decapitated heads and any associated figures, such as Orpheus and John the Baptist. But in a more general sense, Gauguin also freely mixed Eastern and Western imagery. His obsession with the theme of death, which appears throughout his Tahitian paintings, is less a reference to spiritual beliefs or to what he saw around him than perhaps more significantly, how he viewed himself. Gauguin thought of himself as a martyr victimized by modern society, which compelled him to escape to a "primitive" culture.
Art Prints are printed on heavy matte finish German art paper using the finest Canon archival inks. Frame is black natural with a white mattboard and Acrylite glazing.

Wall Murals are printed on 42" matte finish, self-adhesive Kodak PhotoText fabric panels that combine and mount easily on a non textured wall surface. We can custom make to any size, just ask.

Stretched Canvas is stretched by hand over 1.5" thick pine bars and printed on cotton poly matte finish canvas. Each is canvas hand coated with Hahnemuhle UV/Archive coating, these are Swiss quality best in industry canvases.


All our images are digitized from the original negative , printed and assembled in Switzerland to museum standards by our master printer.

All of our products are popular and custom made by hand to order, please allow 4-6 weeks to make them and 1-2 weeks for shipment anywhere in the world.

Questions? Please email service@archivea.com

Artwork in this collection is from The J. Paul Getty Museum. Reproduction rights are reserved by the copyright owner and used under license by Archivea GmbH. .

.

View full details