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Sexy Gauguin

By Sebastian Smee   December 2003

For all his questing, boastful talk, Paul Gauguin lived a blighted life. It came to a premature end 100 years ago in the Marquesas islands in a two-storey hut Gauguin had dubbed the “House of Pleasure.” By the last few months of his life, it reeked so badly from the rotting sores on the artist’s ulcerated leg that hardly anyone would go near him. Vaeoho Marie-Rose, his pregnant, 14-year-old Marquesan “wife,” had left him nine months previously to return to her father, a Marquesan chief.

In the House of Pleasure were a harmonium, a violin, some of Gauguin’s own pictures,…

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