IN his rambling Intimate Journals, Peter Paul Gauguin jotted down a bit of dialogue with himself:

How much does society owe me? A great deal too much. Will it ever pay? Never!

Never in his own lifetime did society pay Gauguin the honor, fame or fortune due a great artist; but in the years since he died in poverty on a South Pacific island, the world has paid his memory handsomely in the hard coin of lasting esteem. Last week society made another payment on its debt to Gauguin: in bustling Houston, Texas, an impressive show of Gauguin's work was drawing record crowds.


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