Art: The Man Who Sailed Away

Tahiti was no paradise, but in the work of Gauguin it glowed. An illuminating show spreads the light

In 1891, when he had long since had his fill of Paris, of its constipated moods, its bourgeois proprieties and its hostility to him, the 43-year-old Gauguin wrote to the Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro: "More than ever I am convinced that there is no such thing as exaggerated art. And I even believe that there is salvation only in extremes."

The extreme he would go to was Tahiti, where, while looking for paths beyond the exhausted conventions of Western art, he would make some of its greatest works. "Gauguin Tahiti," which opens this week at the Boston Museum of Fine...

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