This museum/memorial to Paul Gauguin, the French artist who lived in the Mataiea district from 1891 until 1893, owns a few of his sculptures, woodcarvings, engravings, and a ceramic vase. It has an active program to borrow his major works, however, and one might be on display during your visit. Otherwise, the exhibits are dedicated to his life in French Polynesia. It's best to see them counterclockwise, starting at the gift shop (which sells excellent prints and reproductions of his works). The originals are in the first gallery. An interesting display in the last gallery shows who owns his works today. The museum has a lagoonside restaurant, although most visitors have lunch at the nearby Restaurant du Musée Gauguin, at PK 50.5.
The museum is adjacent to the lush Harrison W. Smith Jardin Botanique (Botanical Gardens), which was started in 1919 by Harrison Smith, an American who left a career teaching physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and moved to Tahiti. He died here in 1947. His gardens, which now belong to the public, are home to a plethora of tropical plants from around the world. This is the wettest part of Tahiti, so bring an umbrella.
- © Frommer's 2013
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Ask Tahiti Locals about Musée Gauguin (Gauguin Museum)
- Very Highly Recommended 2010
- tel: 57.10.58
- Mataiea, 51km (32 miles) west of Papeete
- Daily 9am-5pm
- No Sweat
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