Paul Gauguin Cruises has helped make new discoveries about the life of Paul Gauguin, adding a new dimension to the world’s body of knowledge of the artist, according to the cruise line.
Dr. Caroline Boyle-Turner, an art historian and expert on artist Paul Gauguin, has been a guest lecturer on The Gauguin since 1999.
Paul Gauguin Cruises has facilitated Boyle-Turner’s visits to Hiva Oa in the Marquesas to research the artist’s life. Over the past five years, Boyle-Turner has expanded her research and is writing a book on Gauguin based on her research, entitled Gauguin and the Marquesas.
With the permission of the island’s mayor, Boyle-Turner was able to arrange for four teeth presumably belonging to Gauguin, found in a glass bottle in a well behind his house in Atuona on Hiva Oa, to be analyzed by scientists associated with the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Ill. The scientists were able to extract DNA from the teeth, and a DNA sample was taken from Gauguin's grandson, Marcel Tai Gauguin, for the tests.
The goal of the analysis was to determine if the teeth were positively Gauguin’s and if they held additional information about his life. The scientists discovered with 90 percent certitude that the teeth were Gauguin’s. When the ship was in Hiva Oa on January 9, a special ceremony was held aboard The Gauguin.
Boyle-Turner, along with dentist Dr. William Mueller, who helped arrange the tests and interpret the results, outlined the findings of the research for guests and local press aboard The Gauguin.
Boyle-Turner then returned the teeth to the mayor of Atuona, Etienne Tehaamoan, who spoke about the economic importance of visits by The Gauguin to Hiva Oa and praised the ship as being one of the most regular visitors to the island. Following the ceremony, the Atuona dance group performed.
Gauguin’s teeth will be on display at the Centre Paul Gauguin, a cultural center in Atuona honoring the artist and showcasing exhibits and reproductions of his work. The center can be visited when the ship is in Hiva Oa on The Gauguin’s Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands itineraries which depart April 12 and October 25 in 2014, and August 29 and November 21 in 2015. Virtually undiscovered for centuries, the remote Marquesas afford a true glimpse of the Polynesia of old.
On this one-of-a-kind itinerary, The Gauguin visits four islands in the Marquesas, the diving mecca of the Tuamotus archipelago, and the exquisite Society Islands. The voyages begin and end in Papeete, Tahiti, visiting Fakarava in the Tuamotus; and Omoa, Fatu Hiva; Atuona, Hiva Oa; Hapatoni, Tahuata; Tiaohae, Nuku Hiva, in the Marquesas; along with Huahine, Bora Bora, Taha’a (Motu Mahana), and Moorea in the Society Islands. Cruise fares start at $6,795 per person and include airfare from Los Angeles.