In London a week back I contemplated visiting the National Gallery’s, five years in the planning, Gauguin exhibition. There was an underlying sentimental reason behind that, namely the first painting I ever bought, at the age of 17, was a Gauguin print. A decade later I bowled into the Louvre and there was the original which was not nearly as nice as my print.
In the event, caught up in an all-day lunch with an old mate, I didn’t go and thank God for that as I’d have doubtless made a scene and bawled the clowns out for their ignorance.
For now back home, I read that visitors to the exhibition, unbelievably are confronted by warning signs, typical of the current fashionable nonsense, specifically that Gaugin had, quote, “a colonialist mindset and that the subject of some of his most famous paintings were young girls he sexually exploited.”
What world‑class cock. Endless 19th century travellers’ accounts described the free and easy sexual promiscuity of Tahitian girls back then. One of the Gallery’s warning signs even alluded to this only expressed it as, “Gaugin undoubtedly exploited his privileged Westerner position to make the most of the sexual freedoms available to him.” They were available to all comers for God’s sake and why being a Westerner made this a privileged position is not explained.
For my part if in that situation, being of a polite disposition, I would view it as rather rude to turn these generous girls’ overtures down and in the spirit of international friendship, would be in bloody boots and all. One thing I’d wager is the idiots behind this signage absurdity will be very ugly, embittered fat females.
It’s ironic given that history, that Tahitian tourism suffers today, solely because of the surliness of the locals. The Tahitian Tourist Board are lessees in a large Sydney office building I own. Some years ago, in an endeavour to be helpful, I suggested to one of their managers their job would be a damn sight easier were they to resurrect the 19th century spirit with the girls. Being French he readily agreed. That would certainly boost tourism there.