By Heather Lemonedes, Belinda Thomson, and Agnieszka Juszczak With contributions by Chris Stolwijk and Moyna Stanton
In 1889, Paris hosted the legendary Exposition Universelle (World's Fair), a massive cultural exhibition which transformed the face of French culture to come. The Eiffel Tower was built for it, the composer Claude Debussy first heard Javanese music there, and the painter Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), reacting against his exclusion from its arts component, organized an exhibit called L'Exposition de Peintures du Groupe Impressionniste et Synthesiste, on the walls of the Cafe Volpini. Presenting the newest works by himself and his friends, it was here that Gauguin premiered what is now known as the Volpini Suite, an amazing portfolio of 11 lithographs printed on radiant canary yellow paper, which marked the coalescence of his various motifs and the commencement of his mature style. Paul Gauguin: Paris, 1889, catalog to the exhibit, illustrates the radical nature of the works produced by Gauguin and his friends by examining his paintings, woodcuts, ceramics, prints and drawings related to that landmark exhibition.