Paul Gauguin Biography | Oil Paintings
6-7-1848 Paris, FRA – 5-8-1903, Marquesas Islands, TAHBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Although Paul Eugene-Henri Gauguin was born in Paris, Paul Gauguin spent his early childhood in Peru, returning to France in 1855. He worked for a time as a stockbroker, painting only as a hobby until the stock market crash of 1882 prompted a dramatic change of career.
Paul Gauguin first pictures were in the Impressionist style, influenced in particular by his friend, Camille Pissarro. Increasingly, though, Gauguin became dissatisfied with the purely visual emphasis of the movement and tried to introduce a greater degree of symbolism and spirituality into his work. Inspired by Japanese prints, he also developed a new style, coupling bold splashes of bright, unmixed color with simplified, linear designs. At the same time, haunted by memories of his Peruvian childhood, Gauguin developed a growing fascination for exotic and ‘primitive’ cultures.
With his inclination for adventure and sincerity, Gauguin saw Paris in a completely different light from the Impressionist; for him, the Ville Lumiere was a stifling prison from which he needed to escape. Initially, he was able to satisfy this need in the remote region of Brittany in 1885 were inspired by the region’s distinctive Celtic traditions, Gauguin painted his first important works, he produced the Vision After The Sermon Jacob Wrestling With The Angel, his first great masterpiece. This key work from this period in Brittany is a fine example of the style known as Synthetism, which combines a realistic scene of women in traditional Breton dress with the imaginary vision of the biblical struggle between Jacob and the angel. It was during the 1880's, Madame Gloanec's Inn in the Breton village of Pont-Aven was recognized as one of the most advanced art “centers” of the time. There a group of writers and artists gathered around the expansive and prophetic Gauguin. Rejecting the seductive light and muted colors of the Impressionists, the artist used simple forms and vivid colors to achieve suggestion, rather than description.
Gauguin To the End of the Earth, in Search of Purity.
In 1888, Gauguin stayed with Van Gogh in Arles, but the brief friendship between the two peintres maudits (cursed painters) of Post-Impressionism ended abruptly. Gauguin returned to Pont-Aven in Brittany, and in 1891, set sail to the French colony of Tahiti, in search of something more authentic and immediate. Here he withdrew completely from modern society, which he believed no longer left room for the imagination. Gauguin poured all his passion for the exotic and the primitive into the warm skin tones of the beautiful young Polynesian women, creating an image of a kind of lost paradise, far from the increasingly gray and oppressed modern world. They are a symbolic expression of natural and moral purity, the bold unusual colors, naked brown bodies of the natives and the lush vegetation were unfamiliar to the eyes of Europeans at the time.
In fact, when electricity came to Tahiti, Gauguin fled to the Marquesas Islands. Dogged by poverty and ill health, he spent most of his later life in this area, producing the paintings for which Paul Gauguin is best known today. He died there, attended by a medicine man and a missionary.
Paul Gauguin paintings are rarely offered for sale. His 1892 Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry) became the world's most expensive artwork when it sold privately for US$300.0 million in February 2015. The buyer is believed to be the Qatar Museums.
In 2014 the painting Fruits Sur une Table ou Nature Morte au Petit Chien, with an estimated value of between $9.0M to $27.0M, which had been stolen in London in 1970, was discovered in Italy. The painting, together with a work by Pierre Bonnard, had been bought by a Fiat employee in 1975, at a railway lost property sale, for US$40.00 dollars!
Today Paul Gauguin is recognized as a highly influential founding father of modern art and one of the world's artist.
Art Movement History: Symbolist, Post-Impressionism, Impressionism.
Artists Influencing Paul Gauguin: Camille Pissarro, Japanese prints, Paul Cézanne, Emile Bernard, Vincent Van Gogh
He Traveled To Peru, Tahiti, Denmark, Panama, Martinique.
Painters Paul Gauguin Influenced: Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.