Paul Gauguin

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Gauguin, Paul

(pôl gōgăN`), 1848–1903, French painter and woodcut artist, b. Paris; son of a journalist and a French-Peruvian mother.

Early Life

Gauguin was first a sailor, then a successful stockbroker in Paris. In 1874 he began to paint on weekends. By the age of 35, with the encouragement of Camille Pissarro, he devoted himself completely to his art, having given up his position and separated (1885) from his wife and five children. Allying himself with the Impressionists, he exhibited with them from 1879 to 1886. The next year he sailed for Panama and Martinique. In protest against the "disease" of civilization, he determined to live primitively, but illness forced him to return to France. The next years were spent in Paris and Brittany, with a brief but tragic stay with Van GoghVan Gogh, Vincent
, 1853–90, postimpressionist painter, b. the Netherlands. Van Gogh's works are perhaps better known generally than those of any other painter. His brief, turbulent, and tragic life is thought to epitomize the mad genius legend.
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 at Arles.

Later Life and Art

In 1888, Gauguin and Émile Bernard proposed a synthetist theory of art, emphasizing the use of flat planes and bright, nonnaturalistic color in conjunction with symbolic or primitive subjects. The Yellow Christ (Albright-Knox Art Gall., Buffalo) is characteristic of this period. Gauguin continued to search for a greater sense of spirituality and a greater sexual freedom than could be found in late 19th-century Europe, and in 1891, after selling 30 canvases, he used the proceeds to sail to Tahiti. There he spent two years living poorly, using Tahitian themes to paint some of his finest pictures, and writing Noa Noa (tr. 1947), an autobiographical novel set in Tahiti. He also created a group of carved wooden sculptures and superb woodcut prints depicting Tahitian subjects as well as lithographs and ceramics. In 1893 he returned to France, collected a legacy, and exhibited his work, rousing some interest but making very little money. Disheartened and sick from syphilis, which had afflicted him for many years, he again set out for the South Seas in 1895. There his last years were spent in poverty, despair, and physical suffering. In 1897 he attempted suicide and failed, living to paint for five more years. He died on Hiva Oa in the Marquesas. Islands.

Gauguin's Style and Impact on Modern Art

Today Gauguin is recognized as a highly influential founding father of modern art. He rejected the tradition of western naturalism, using nature as a starting point from which to abstract figures and symbols. He stressed linear patterns and remarkable color harmonies, imbuing his paintings with a profound sense of mystery. He revived the art of woodcutting with his free and daring knife work and his expressive, irregular shapes and strong contrasts. He produced some fine lithographs and a number of pottery pieces.

There are major examples of Gauguin's work in the United States, including The Day of the God (Art Inst., Chicago), Ia Orana Maria (1891; Metropolitan Mus.), By the Sea (1892; National Gall. of Art, Washington, D.C.), and his masterpiece Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? (1897; Mus. of Fine Arts, Boston). Somerset MaughamMaugham, Somerset
(William Somerset Maugham) , 1874–1965, English writer, b. Paris. He was noted as an expert storyteller and a master of the technique of fiction.
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's Moon and Sixpence (1919), based loosely on the life of Gauguin, did much to promote the Gauguin legend that arose shortly after his death.


See his letters ed. by M. Malingue (tr. 1949); his intimate journals tr. by V. W. Brooks (1958); P. Gauguin, My Father, Paul Gauguin (tr. 1937); D. Sweetman, Paul Gauguin: A Complete Life (1995); M. M. Mathews, Paul Gauguin: An Erotic Life (2001); D. Wildenstein, Gauguin: Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings (2 vol., 2002); studies by R. J. Goldwater (1957), B. Danielsson (tr. 1965), W. Andersen (1971), A. Juszczak et al. (2009), and B. Thomson, ed (2010).

References in periodicals archive ?
Fue el lider beduino de "Lawrence of Arabia", el trotamundos de "La Strada", el patriarca italiano de "Un paseo por las nubes", el pintor frances Paul Gaugin en "Lust for Life" (papel que le hizo ganar su segundo Oscar como secundario) o el propio Barrabas, en la pelicula del mismo titulo.
My creative heroes, such as Paul Gaugin, Henry Miller, and Bob Dylan, had rebelled against the restrictions of bourgeois convention, as had my adventurer heroes who'd sailed oceans single-handed, or traveled unfettered to exotic lands.
This is the world that 19th Century artist Paul Gaugin so cleverly depicted and which remained totally unchanged in its dress mode and styling well before and after his arrival, firstly on Tahiti then Hiva Oa, where he quite simply painted paradise.
Rather, by freely juxtaposing Bouguereau with Picasso, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot with Marc Chagall, Paul Gaugin with Jean Leon Gerome, and Pierre Auguste Renoir with Edouard Vuillard, the viewer is invited to look at modern art from about 1850 to 1950 thematically rather than stylistically.
THE nine weeks in 1888 when Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gaugin shared a home and a studio in Arles, southern France, turned out to be one of the richest periods in the entire history of art.
1888: Vincent Van Gogh cut off his left earlobe after a quarrel with Paul Gaugin 1982:The TV wristwatch was marketed.
As Paul Gaugin observed, "Mary Cassatt has charm, but she also has force.
Various filmmakers have looked at van Gogh from different angles, either directly examining the artist's struggle to be understood, his devoted brother, his friendship with fellow artist Paul Gaugin or in purely fictional terms as an intriguing figure whose meaning eludes us.
Among the more modern acquisitions are works from famed impressionists Paul Gaugin and Edouard Manet, the 1928 ink-and-collage Portrait of a Lady by Pablo Picasso and mural-size abstract panels by American-born Cy Twombly.
Work, Rest & Play includes spectacular works by artists such as Monet, L S Lowry, Maggi Hambling and Paul Gaugin.
Ely Sakhai is accused of buying masterpieces by artists including Monet, Renoir and Paul Gaugin, before selling copies.
It was fellow artist Paul Gaugin who sliced it off in a drunken frenzy.