Seven Days…a Halloween Mini-series!
Halloween is coming upon us faster than a headless horseman in hot pursuit. In celebration, we are bringing you the Halloween-iest works from the Gallery’s Collection over the next seven days.
The “Spirit of the Dead” in Gauguin’s title for this work refers the night-stalking character of the tupapaú found in Tahitian folklore. Gauguin wrote of the tupapaú in letter home during his first stay on the island: “The Kanakas are much afraid of them and always leave a lamp lit at night. Nobody will venture out on the road when the moon is down without a lamp—and even then nobody will ever go alone.” Gauguin became fascinated by the “death and the maiden” motif seen here, and several paintings from this period in his career feature the juxtaposition of youthful native women with various symbols of death and earthly temptations.
Image: Paul Gauguin (1848–1903). Spirit of the Dead Watching, 1892. Oil on burlap mounted on canvas, 45 11/16 x 53 x 5 1/4 inches (116.1 x 134.6 x 13.3 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery. A. Conger Goodyear Collection, 1965.