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 ?
For additional information on Paul Gauguin Cruises, please contact a Travel Professional, call 800-848-6172, or visit www.
In 2014, m/s Paul Gauguin will set sail on waters surrounding the tropical islands from January through May and September through December.
Paul Gauguin Cruises partnered with social media agency Banyan Branch to design and implement the "Meet Me in Tahiti" campaign, a Facebook-integrated microsite, creating a way to reach new markets and create awareness and excitement for Tahiti and French Polynesia.
MASTERPIECES: Far left, a self-portrait by Vincent Van Gogh, and one by Paul Gauguin, near left, which are to go on display at the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight, Wirral
A new auction record for a print by Paul Gauguin was achieved when Crouching Tahitian Woman Seen From The Back sold for [pounds sterling]577,250 ($924,466), over three times the estimate ([pounds sterling]180,000-220,000).
London, May 5 (ANI): Vincent Van Gogh's ear was cut off by his friend Paul Gauguin during an argument, and the Dutch artist may have cooked up the story that it was his own doing to protect his pal, claims a new study.
They say Vincent Van Gogh had his ear chopped off by his then friend and fellow painter Paul Gauguin in a row over a woman.
Sainsbury, who died last year, bequeathed works from artists including Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud to the Tate and the National Gallery in what Tate director Nicholas Serota called one of the biggest art donations of the past century.
S Lowry, Maggi Hambling and Paul Gauguin will be shown at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle.
John Simm and John Lynch star in a dramatisation of the artists Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin staying together.
is releasing some classics that had received Oscar nominations and wins, including the 1937 ``Captains Courageous'' with Spencer Tracy, the 1931 ``The Champ'' with Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper, the 1937 ``The Good Earth''' (yes, we all had to read Pearl Buck's novel) with Paul Muni and Luise Rainer, and Vincent Minnelli's 1956 ``Lust for Life'' in which Vincent van Gogh (Kirk Douglas) finds his starry, starry nights, and Anthony Quinn won a best supporting actor award as Paul Gauguin.
I'd love it if you could join me on the Paul Gauguin, the top-rated small cruise ship in the world.