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By Seattle Times arts staff

Seattle Art Museum’s big exhibition, “Gauguin and Polynesia: Elusive Paradise” opens at 10 a.m. today — and the first 100 people wearing “sunshine yellow” get in free. This is the exhibition’s only U.S. stop, and is significant because it pairs key works by Paul Gauguin with artifacts from the South Pacific, which influenced his vibrant works and the way he came to define “paradise.” Also, loans of Gauguin works are tough to arrange, so if you’d like to see these masterpieces without leaving home, this is a rare opportunity.

Times arts writer Michael Upchurch reviewed the show: “As the galleries alternate between suites of Gauguin paintings and groupings of Tahitian and Marquesan carvings, headdresses and weapons, the relation between exiled artist and islands aesthetic grows until, halfway through the show, Gauguin and Polynesia are suddenly in direct conversation with each other.”

SAM plans a host of lectures, films and other events surrounding the exhibit; for more information, go to