Art: Seen through Sunglasses

Among the foreign laborers who helped dig the Panama Canal was a hawk-nosed, angry-eyed Frenchman named Paul Gauguin. For about $4 a day he swung a pick ax, and earned enough money to go on to Martinique. Gauguin was beating a strategic retreat from the sun-spangled Seine of eight-Century French Impressionism to the blue and blood-red lagoons of Hivaoa in the Marquesas.

Paris had been kind to Gauguin the dashing young sailor, Gauguin the successful banker and stockbroker, and even to Gauguin the diffident "Sunday painter." But at 35 he quit his job and...

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