London's Courtauld Gallery collection includes some of the world's most celebrated Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, among them Paul Gauguin's Nevermore.
Gauguin painted Nevermore in Tahiti in1897, by which time he had made the Polynesian island his final home. Gauguin's self-imposed exile in the South Seas is often seen in light of his romantic desire to escape European ‘civilisation’. (Previously, he had sought solace in the 'wildness and primitiveness', as he described it, of rural Brittany.) In reality, the 'primitive' way of life he had hoped to find in Tahiti ended up some way short of paradise.
However, his depictions of local flora, fauna and daily island life remain his best-known and most studied works.
Based on the life of Post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin, Jacques Jouet's Savage compels the reader to ask whether it is the primitive or the civilized man who is savage. At the height of the Belle Époque, an eccentric young clothing designer searches for inspiration and identity as an artist among the "savage" peoples of France's colonies. Influenced by several exotic lovers, a quirky vieille dame, and Édouard Manet himself, Paul's increasingly unconventional designs parallel his increasingly unbalanced state of mind as he struggles to find a market for his work among the haute bourgeoisie. The failure of this venture, coupled with psychosis due to an untreated illness, ultimately leads to his demise.