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Paul Gauguin


One of the Greatest Painters Of All Time

Stylistically influenced by the following painters and art movements: Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cezanne Japanese Woodblock Prints

Cause of Death - Advanced Syphilis

The artist's art was declared to be Entartete Kunst by the Nazis in the 1930s and removed from public spaces.


Paul Gauguin is one of the greatest painters of all time. His brilliance with color is unequalled in all of art history.  He was born into a family filled with writers and creative personalities His grandmother was a famous revolutionary. Gauguin's mother,  Aline Chazal, was of Peruvian descent. She was the daughter of the famous socialist writer and activist Flora Tristan. Gauguin's father, a writer, died enrout to South America. The young family had gone seeking a better life. Young Paul, his mother and sister made their way to Peru. The beautiful native tribes people and their interesting customs left a strong impression on the young artist.

Gauguin was a married stockbroker when he took up painting as full time profession. He felt his wife and five children burdened his free spirit so he left them to fend for themselves while he pursued his dreams. Gauguin stated "Life has no meaning unless one lives it with a will, at least to the limit of one's will. Virtue, good, evil are nothing but words, unless one takes them apart in order to build something with them; they do not win their true meaning until one knows how to apply them." His Danish wife, Mette Sophia Gad, took in washing and put her children to selling homemade pies on street corners to make ends meet.

 Gauguin was on and off again best friends with Vincent van Gough. The pair had a tumultuous relationship at best although each painter was profoundly influenced by the other. Gauguin stated "But I owe something to Vincent Van Gogh, and that is . . . the confirmation of my own original ideas about painting. And also, at difficult moments, the remembrance that one finds others unhappier than oneself."

French Art Historian, Camille Mauclair wrote about the painters style "Paul Gauguin's robust talent found its first motives in Breton landscapes, in which the method of colour-spots can be found employed with delicacy and placed at the service of a rather heavy, but very interesting harmony. Then the artist spent a long time in Tahiti, whence he returned with a completely transformed manner. He has brought back from these regions some landscapes with figures treated in intentionally clumsy and almost wild fashion. The figures are outlined in firm strokes and painted in broad, flat tints on canvas which has the texture almost of tapestry. Many of these works are made repulsive by their aspect of multi-colored, crude and barbarous imagery. Yet one cannot but acknowledge the fundamental qualities, the beautiful values, the ornamental taste, and the impression of primitive animalism. On the whole, Paul Gauguin has a beautiful, artistic temperament which, in its aversion to virtuosoship, has perhaps not sufficiently understood that the fear of formulas, if exaggerated, may lead to other formulas, to a false ignorance which is as dangerous as false knowledge. Gauguin's symbolical intentions, like those of his pupil Emile Bernard, are sincere, but are badly served by minds which do not agree with their technical qualities, and both Gauguin and Emile Bernard are most happily inspired when they are painters pure and simple."

The artist stated "Civilization is what makes you sick." Gauguin love the tropics. He was inspired by the beauty of the native population as well as the amazing plant life. Sadly while in Polynesia Gauguin became the island drunk and took several Polynesian "child-brides". He died prematurley of syphilis which had been complicated by his drug addiction and alcoholism. He was just 54 years old. Who knows how many more masterpieces Gauguin could have left the world had he lived out his natural life.

Paul Gauguin quotes


Major Artists Associated with the Post-Impressionist Movement
Paul Cézanne (1839 - 1906) French, 
Paul Gauguin (1848 - 1903 French
Henri Rousseau (1844-1910) 
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864 - 1897) French
Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890)  Dutch
Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940) French


Important Charactoristics, Words and Phrases Associated with the Post-Impressionism Movement -   Roger Fry, 1910, France,  Ambroise Vollard, geometric forms, Paris, arbitrary colour, esoteric, Synthetist style,   landscapes, Parisian cafe Culture, 19th-century, Paris, soleil levant,  open composition, impasto, vibrant, effets de soir, natural light, en plein air, Académie des Beaux-Arts, boating, leisure activities, Landscapes, modernization, synthetic pigments, industrialization, Independent Collective, avant-garde, Primitivism, Symbolist, France, French painters, The Académie Suisse, controversial ideas about painting, physics of colour, broader strokes, fleeting impression of colour and light, bright, vibrant, flowers, figures, modern art


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