Paul Gauguin

The French painter Henri Eugène Paul Gauguin was born in Paris in 1848. When he was three years old, his father lost his job as a journalist and his family moved to Peru with relatives. The father dies shortly after the end of the long journey. Gauguin’s mother is a writer and they live together in Peru for four years. The family travels back to France and Paul Gauguin attends a boarding school from now on.

When Gauguin is twenty years old, his mother dies. He serves a few years on the sea for the navy. After finishing his service he works as a stockbroker. 1873 Gauguin starts painting. In the same year he marries the Danish artist Mette-Sophie Gad. One year later he had his first of four children with her.

[Image from dieleinwand]

In Paris Paul Gauguin met the Impressionists. He was inspired by them and trained in painting. From 1880 he managed to make a name for himself as a painter and in 1883 he opened his own studio. He lived exclusively from his painting. In the beginning he had great difficulties earning his money with it and for financial reasons he moved away from Paris with his family. For Gauguin a hard time with money and family sorrow followed.

A few years later he met the artist Emil Bernad. For him this was his farewell to Impressionism. Together with Bernad he formulated a kind of philosophy known by the term “Synthetism”. He travels to England and visits other countries before returning to Paris, but without his family.

A friendship between artists

In 1888 Gauguin collaborated intensively with Vincent van Gogh, who drew his attention to Japanese woodcuts. He lived with van Gogh for a short time in Arles. From there, however, he soon returned to Paris, as there were serious conflicts between the two.

Paul Gauguin, Wonderful Land

Gauguin admires honesty and purity in man. He thinks he can find these qualities in people who are still untouched by civilization. The search for these people leads him to “The Marqueses Island” on Tahiti. There he lives a large part of his life and paints many of his most significant and famous paintings.

At the end of 1890 Paul Gauguin became ill and in 1903 he died in deep poverty in Tahiti.


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