Books: Measure of the Man

GAUGUIN IN THE SOUTH SEAS by Bengt Danielsson. 336 pages. Doubleday. $7.95.

Posterity appreciates Paul Gauguin more than his contemporaries did. While he lived, the museums of his native France coldly refused him wall space. Until his death in 1903, his canvases found mostly a rude or indifferent market; later the bidding began to spiral out of sight: a single Gauguin was knocked down for $364,000 at Sotheby's in 1959. Posterity, in short, has caught up with Gauguin's notion of his own indisputable greatness. The matter of the Gauguin legend, however, is disputable,...

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