Paul Gauguin (/ɡoʊˈɡæn/; French: [øʒɛn
ɑ̃ʁi pɔl ɡoɡɛ̃]; 7 June 1848 – 8 May 1903) was a French
Impressionist artist. Unappreciated until after his death,
Gauguin is now recognized for his experimental use of color and
Synthetist style that were distinctly different from Impressionism.
Towards the end of his life he spent ten years in French Polynesia,
and most of his paintings from this time depict people or landscapes
from that region.
His work was influential to the French avant-garde and many modern
artists, such as
Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Gauguin's art became
popular after his death, partially from the efforts of art dealer
Ambroise Vollard, who organized exhibitions of his work late in his
career and assisted in organizing two important posthumous exhibitions
in Paris. Gauguin was an important figure in the Symbolist
movement as a painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramist, and writer. His
expression of the inherent meaning of the subjects in his paintings,
under the influence of the cloisonnist style, paved the way to
Primitivism and the return to the pastoral. He was also an influential
proponent of wood engraving and woodcuts as art forms.
1.1 Family history and early life
1.2 Education and first job
1.4 First paintings
1.5 France 1885–1886
Cloisonnism and synthetism
1.8 Gauguin and Van Gogh
1.9 Gauguin and Degas
1.10 First visit to Tahiti
1.11 Return to France
1.12 Residence in Tahiti
1.13 Marquesas Islands
2 Historical significance
3 Influence on Picasso
4 Technique and style
5 Other media
8 See also
10 References and sources
11 Further reading
12 External links
Family history and early life
Aline Marie Chazal Tristán, (1825–1867) "The Artist's Mother",
1889, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.
Gauguin's maternal grandmother,
Flora Tristan (1803–1844) in 1838
Gauguin was born in
Paris to Clovis Gauguin and Alina Maria Chazal on
June 7, 1848. His birth coincided with revolutionary upheavals
throughout Europe that year. His father, a 34-year-old liberal
journalist, came from a family of petit-bourgeoisie entrepreneurs
residing in Orléans. He was compelled to flee France when the
newspaper for which he wrote was suppressed by French authorities.
Gauguin's mother was the 22-year-old daughter of Andre Chazal, an
engraver, and Flora Tristan, an author and activist in early socialist
movements. Their union ended when Andre assaulted his wife Flora and
was sentenced to prison for attempted murder.
Paul Gauguin's maternal grandmother, Flora Tristan, was the
illegitimate daughter of Thérèse Laisnay and Don Mariano de Tristan
Moscoso. Details of Thérèse's family background are not known; her
father, Don Mariano, was a Spanish nobleman and an officer of the
Dragoons. Members of the wealthy Tristan Moscoso family held
powerful positions in Peru. Nonetheless, Don Mariano's unexpected
death plunged his mistress and daughter Flora into poverty. When
Flora's marriage with Andre failed, she petitioned for and obtained a
small monetary settlement from her father's Peruvian relatives. She
sailed to Peru in hopes of enlarging her share of the Tristan Moscoso
family fortune. This never materialized; but she successfully
published a popular travelogue of her experiences in Peru which
launched her literary career in 1838. An active supporter of early
socialist societies, Gauguin's maternal grandmother helped to lay the
foundations for the 1848 revolutionary movements. Placed under
surveillance by French police and suffering from overwork, she died in
1844. Her grandson Paul "idolized his grandmother, and kept copies
of her books with him to the end of his life."
In 1850, Clovis Gauguin departed for Peru with his wife Alina and
young children in hopes of continuing his journalistic career under
the auspices of his wife's South American relations. He died of a
heart attack en route, and Alina arrived in Peru a widow with the
18-month-old Paul and his 2 ½ year-old sister, Marie. Gauguin's
mother was welcomed by her paternal granduncle, whose son-in-law would
shortly assume the presidency of Peru. To the age of six, Paul
enjoyed a privileged upbringing, attended by nursemaids and servants.
He retained a vivid memory of that period of his childhood which
instilled "indelible impressions of Peru that haunted him the rest of
Gauguin's idyllic childhood in this "tropical paradise" ended abruptly
when his family mentors fell from political power during Peruvian
civil conflicts in 1854. Aline returned to France with her children,
leaving Paul with his paternal grandfather, Guillaume Gauguin, in
Orleans. Deprived by the Peruvian Tristan Moscoso clan of a generous
annuity arranged by her granduncle, Alina settled in
Paris to work as
Education and first job
After attending a couple of local schools, Gauguin was sent to the
prestigious Catholic boarding school Petit Séminaire de La
Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin. He spent three years at the school. At age
fourteen, he entered the Loriol Institute in Paris, a naval
preparatory school, before returning to Orléans to take his final
year at the Lycée Jeanne D'Arc. Gauguin signed on as a pilot's
assistant in the merchant marine. Three years later, he joined the
French navy in which he served for two years. His mother died on 7
July 1867, but he did not learn of it for several months until a
letter from his sister Marie caught up with him in India.
In 1871, Gauguin returned to
Paris where he secured a job as a
stockbroker. A close family friend, Gustave Arosa, got him a job at
Paris Bourse; Gauguin was 23. He became a successful Parisian
businessman and remained one for the next 11 years. In 1879 he was
earning 30,000 francs a year (about $125,000 in 2008 US dollars) as a
stockbroker, and as much again in his dealings in the art
market. But in 1882 the
Paris stock market crashed and the art
market contracted. Gauguin's earnings deteriorated sharply and he
eventually decided to pursue painting full-time.
In 1873, he married a Danish woman, Mette-Sophie Gad (1850–1920).
Over the next ten years, they had five children: Émile (1874–1955);
Aline (1877–1897); Clovis (1879–1900); Jean René (1881–1961);
and Paul Rollon (1883–1961). By 1884, Gauguin had moved with his
family to Copenhagen, Denmark, where he pursued a business career as a
tarpaulin salesman. It was not a success: He could not speak Danish,
Danes did not want French tarpaulins. Mette became the chief
breadwinner, giving French lessons to trainee diplomats.
His middle-class family and marriage fell apart after 11 years when
Gauguin was driven to paint full-time. He returned to
Paris in 1885,
after his wife and her family asked him to leave because he had
renounced the values they shared.[clarification needed]
Gauguin's last physical contact with them was in 1891, Mette
eventually breaking with him decisively in 1894.
Study of a Nude
Study of a Nude (Suzanne sewing), 1880, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
In 1873, around the same time as he became a stockbroker, Gauguin
began painting in his free time. His Parisian life centred on the 9th
arrondissement of Paris. Gauguin lived at 15, rue la Bruyère.
Nearby were the cafés frequented by the Impressionists. Gauguin also
visited galleries frequently and purchased work by emerging artists.
He formed a friendship with Camille Pissarro and visited him on
Sundays to paint in his garden. Pissarro introduced him to various
other artists. In 1877 Gauguin "moved downmarket and across the river
to the poorer, newer, urban sprawls" of Vaugirard. Here, on the third
floor at 8 rue Carcel, he had the first home in which he had a
studio. His close friend Émile Schuffenecker, a former
stockbroker who also aspired to become an artist, lived close by.
Gauguin showed paintings in
Impressionist exhibitions held in 1881 and
1882 – (earlier a sculpture, of his son Émile, had been the only
sculpture in the 4th
Impressionist Exhibition of 1879.) His paintings
received dismissive reviews, although several of them, such as The
Market Gardens of Vaugirard, are now highly regarded.
In 1882, the stock market crashed and the art market contracted. Paul
Durand-Ruel, the Impressionists' primary art dealer, was especially
affected by the crash and for a period of time stopped buying pictures
from painters such as Gauguin. Gauguin's earnings contracted sharply
and over the next two years he slowly formulated his plans to become a
full-time artist. The following two summers, he painted with
Pissarro and occasionally Paul Cézanne. In October 1883, he wrote to
Pissarro saying that he had decided to make his living from painting
at all cost and asked for his help, which Pissarro at first readily
provided. The following January, Gauguin moved with his family to
Rouen, where they could live more cheaply and where he thought he had
discerned opportunities when visiting Pissarro there the previous
summer. However, the venture proved unsuccessful, and by the end of
the year Mette and the children moved to Copenhagen, Gauguin following
shortly after in November 1884, bringing with him his art collection,
which subsequently remained in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen proved equally difficult and their marriage grew
strained. At Mette's urging, supported by her family, Gauguin returned
Paris the following year.
The Market Gardens of Vaugirard, 1879, Smith College Museum of Art
Winter Landscape, 1879, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
Portrait of Madame Gauguin, c. 1880–81, Foundation E.G. Bührle,
Garden in Vaugirard (Painter's Family in the Garden in Rue Carcel),
1881, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen
Four Breton Women, 1886, Neue Pinakothek, Munich
Gauguin returned to
Paris in June 1885, accompanied by his
six-year-old son Clovis. The other children remained with Mette in
Copenhagen, where they had the support of family and friends while
Mette herself was able to get work as a translator and French teacher.
Gauguin initially found it difficult to re-enter the art world in
Paris and spent his first winter back in real poverty, obliged to take
a series of menial jobs. Clovis eventually fell ill and was sent to a
boarding school, Gauguin's sister Marie providing the funds.
During this first year, Gauguin produced very little art. He exhibited
nineteen paintings and a wood relief at the eighth (and last)
Impressionist exhibition in May 1886. Most of these paintings were
earlier work from
Copenhagen and there was nothing really
novel in the few new ones, although his Baigneuses à Dieppe ("Women
Bathing") introduced what was to become a recurring motif, the woman
in the waves. Nevertheless,
Félix Bracquemond did purchase one of his
paintings. This exhibition also established
Georges Seurat as leader
of the avant-garde movement in Paris. Gauguin contemptuously rejected
Impressionist Pointillist technique and later in the year
broke decisively with Pissarro, who from that point on was rather
antagonistic towards Gauguin.
Gauguin spent the summer of 1886 in the artist's colony of Pont-Aven
in Brittany. He was attracted in the first place because it was cheap
to live there. However, he found himself an unexpected success with
the young art students who flocked there in the summer. His naturally
pugilistic temperament (he was both an accomplished boxer and fencer)
was no impediment in the socially relaxed seaside resort. He was
remembered during that period as much for his outlandish appearance as
for his art. Amongst these new associates was Charles Laval, who would
accompany Gauguin the following year to
Panama and Martinique.
That summer, he executed some pastel drawings of nude figures in the
manner of Pissarro and those by Degas exhibited at the 1886 eighth
Impressionist exhibition. He mainly painted landscapes such as La
Bergère Bretonne ("The Breton Shepherdess"), in which the figure
plays a subordinate role. His Jeunes Bretons au bain ("Young Breton
Boys Bathing"), introducing a theme he returned to each time he
visited Pont-Aven, is clearly indebted to Degas in its design and bold
use of pure color. The naive drawings of the English illustrator
Randolph Caldecott, used to illustrate a popular guide-book on
Brittany, had caught the imagination of the avant-garde student
artists at Pont-Aven, anxious to free themselves from the conservatism
of their academies, and Gauguin consciously imitated them in his
sketches of Breton girls. These sketches were later worked up into
paintings back in his
Paris studio. The most important of these is
Four Breton Women, which shows a marked departure from his earlier
Impressionist style as well as incorporating something of the naive
quality of Caldecott's illustration, exaggerating features to the
point of caricature.
Gauguin, along with Émile Bernard, Charles Laval, Émile
Schuffenecker and many others, re-visited
Pont-Aven after his travels
Panama and Martinique. The bold use of pure color and Symbolist
choice of subject matter distinguish what is now called the Pont-Aven
School. Disappointed with Impressionism, Gauguin felt that traditional
European painting had become too imitative and lacked symbolic depth.
By contrast, the art of Africa and Asia seemed to him full of mystic
symbolism and vigour. There was a vogue in Europe at the time for the
art of other cultures, especially that of Japan (Japonism). He was
invited to participate in the 1889 exhibition organized by Les XX.
Women Bathing, 1885, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
La Bergère Bretonne, 1886, Laing Art Gallery
Breton Girl, 1886, Burrell Collection, Glasgow
Breton Bather, 1886–87, Art Institute of Chicago
Cloisonnism and synthetism
Poster of the 1889 Exhibition of Paintings by the
Synthetist Group, at Café des Arts, known as The Volpini Exhibition,
Under the influence of folk art and Japanese prints, Gauguin's work
evolved towards Cloisonnism, a style given its name by the critic
Édouard Dujardin to describe Émile Bernard's method of painting with
flat areas of color and bold outlines, which reminded Dujardin of the
Medieval cloisonné enameling technique. Gauguin was very appreciative
of Bernard's art and of his daring with the employment of a style
which suited Gauguin in his quest to express the essence of the
objects in his art. In Gauguin's
The Yellow Christ
The Yellow Christ (1889), often
cited as a quintessential Cloisonnist work, the image was reduced to
areas of pure color separated by heavy black outlines. In such works
Gauguin paid little attention to classical perspective and boldly
eliminated subtle gradations of color, thereby dispensing with the two
most characteristic principles of post-
Renaissance painting. His
painting later evolved towards
Synthetism in which neither form nor
color predominate but each has an equal role.
The Yellow Christ
The Yellow Christ (Le Christ jaune), 1889, Albright-Knox Art Gallery,
Still Life with Profile of Laval, 1886, Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Martinique Landscape 1887, Scottish National Gallery
In 1887, after having visited Panama, Gauguin spent the time from June
to November near Saint Pierre on the Caribbean island of Martinique,
accompanied by his friend the artist Charles Laval. His thoughts and
experiences during this time are recorded in his letters to his wife
Mette and his artist friend Emile Schuffenecker. He arrived in
Martinique by way of
Panama where he had found himself broke and
without a job. At the time France had a policy of repatriation where
if a citizen became broke or stranded on a French colony, the state
would pay for the boat ride back. Upon leaving
Panama protected by the
repatriation policy, Gauguin and Laval decided to get off the boat at
Martinique port of St. Pierre. Scholars are in disagreement if
Gauguin intentionally or spontaneously decided to stay on the island.
At first, the 'negro hut' in which they lived suited him, and he
enjoyed watching people in their daily activities. However, the
weather in the summer was hot and the hut leaked in the rain. Gauguin
also suffered dysentery and marsh fever. While in Martinique, he
produced between 10 and 20 works (12 being the most common estimate),
traveled widely and apparently came into contact with a small
community of Indian immigrants; a contact that would later influence
his art through the incorporation of Indian symbols. During his stay,
Lafcadio Hearn was also on the island. His account
provides an historical comparison to accompany Gauguin's images.
Gauguin finished 11 known paintings during his stay in Martinique,
many of which seem to be derived from his hut. His letters to
Schuffenecker express an excitement about the exotic location and
natives represented in his paintings. Gauguin asserted that four of
his paintings on the island were better than the rest. The works
as a whole are brightly colored, loosely painted, outdoor figural
scenes. Even though his time on the island was short, it surely was
influential. He recycled some of his figures and sketches in later
paintings, like the motif in Among the Mangoes which is replicated
on his fans. Rural and indigenous populations remained a popular
subject in Gauguin's work after he left the island.
Huttes sous les arbres, 1887, Private collection, Washington
Bord de Mer II, 1887, Private collection, Paris
At the Pond, 1887, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Conversation Tropiques (Négresses Causant), 1887, Private collection,
Among the Mangoes (La Cueillette des Fruits), 1887, Van Gogh Museum,
Gauguin and Van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh,
Paul Gauguin (Man in a Red Beret), 1888, Van Gogh
Martinique paintings were exhibited at his color merchant
Arsène Poitier's gallery. There they were seen and admired by Vincent
van Gogh and his art dealer brother Theo van Gogh, whose firm Goupil
& Cie had dealings with Portier. Theo purchased three of Gauguin's
paintings for 900 francs and arranged to have them hung at Goupil's,
thus introducing Gauguin to wealthy clients. At the same time Vincent
and Gauguin became close friends (on van Gogh's part it amounted to
something akin to adulation) and they corresponded together on art, a
correspondence that was instrumental in Gauguin formulating his
philosophy of art. The arrangement with Goupil's continued
past Theo's death in January 1891.
Gauguin's relationship with Vincent proved fraught. In 1888, at Theo's
instigation, Gauguin and Vincent spent nine weeks painting together at
Vincent's Yellow House in Arles. Their relationship deteriorated and
eventually Gauguin decided to leave. On the evening of 23 December
1888 according to a much later account of Gauguin's, van Gogh
confronted Gauguin with a razor blade. Later the same evening, van
Gogh cut off his left ear. He wrapped the severed tissue in newspaper
and handed it to a woman who worked at a brothel both Gauguin and van
Gogh had visited, and asked her to "keep this object carefully, in
remembrance of me." Van Gogh was hospitalized the following day and
Gauguin left Arles. They never saw each other again, but they
continued to correspond and in 1890 Gauguin went so far as to propose
they form an artist studio in Antwerp. An 1889 sculptural
Jug in the form of a Head, Self-portrait
Jug in the form of a Head, Self-portrait appears to
reference Gauguin's traumatic relationship with van Gogh.
Gauguin later claimed to have been instrumental in influencing van
Gogh's development as a painter at Arles. While van Gogh did briefly
experiment with Gauguin's theory of painting from the imagination in
paintings such as Memory of the Garden at Etten, it did not suit him
and he quickly returned to painting from nature.
Gauguin and Degas
Riders on the Beach, 1902, Museum Folkwang
Valérie Roumi, 1880, carved and painted mahogany, Ny Carlsberg
Although Gauguin made some of his early strides in the world of art
Edgar Degas was Gauguin's most admired contemporary
artist and a great influence on his work from the beginning, with his
figures and interiors as well as a carved and painted medallion of
singer Valérie Roumi. He had a deep reverence for Degas' artistic
dignity and tact. It was Gauguin's healthiest, longest lasting
friendship, spanning his entire artistic career until his death.
In addition to being one of his earliest supporters, including buying
Gauguin's work and persuading dealer
Paul Durand-Ruel to do the same,
there was never a public support for Gauguin more unwavering than from
Degas. Gauguin also purchased work from Degas in the early to
mid-1870s and his own monotyping predilection was probably influenced
by Degas' advancements in the medium. Gauguin's Durand-Ruel
exhibition in November 1893, which Degas chiefly organized, received
mixed reviews. Among the mocking were Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste
Renoir and former friend Pissarro. Degas, however, praised his work,
purchasing Te faaturuma (es) and admiring the exotic
sumptuousness of Gauguin's conjured folklore. In
appreciation, Gauguin presented Degas with The Moon and the Earth, one
of the exhibited paintings that had attracted the most hostile
criticism. Gauguin's late canvas Riders on the Beach (two
versions) recalls Degas' horse pictures which he started in the 1860s,
specifically Racetrack and Before the Race, testifying to his enduring
effect on Gauguin. Degas later purchased two paintings at
Gauguin's 1895 auction to raise funds for his final trip to Tahiti.
Vahine no te vi
Vahine no te vi (Woman with a Mango) and Gauguin's copy of
First visit to Tahiti
By 1890, Gauguin had conceived the project of making
Tahiti his next
artistic destination. A successful auction of paintings in
Hôtel Drouot in February 1891, along with other events such as a
banquet and a benefit concert, provided the necessary funds. The
auction had been greatly helped by a flattering review from Octave
Mirbeau, courted by Gauguin through Camille Pissarro.[a] After
visiting his wife and children in Copenhagen, for what turned out to
be the last time, Gauguin set sail for
Tahiti on 1 April 1891,
promising to return a rich man and make a fresh start. His avowed
intent was to escape European civilization and "everything that is
artificial and conventional". Nevertheless, he took care to
take with him a collection of visual stimuli in the form of
photographs, drawings and prints.[b]
He spent the first three months in Papeete, the capital of the colony
and already much influenced by French and European culture. His
biographer Belinda Thomson observes that he must have been
disappointed in his vision of a primitive idyll. He was unable to
afford the pleasure-seeking life-style in Papeete, and an early
attempt at a portrait, Suzanne Bambridge (fr), was not well
liked. He decided to set up his studio in Mataiea, Papeari, some
forty-five kilometres from Papeete, installing himself in a
native-style bamboo hut. Here he executed paintings depicting Tahitian
life such as
Fatata te Miti
Fatata te Miti (By the Sea) and Ia Orana Maria (ca)
(Ave Maria), the latter to become his most prized Tahitian
Vahine no te tiare (Woman with a Flower), 1891, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Many of his finest paintings date from this period. His first portrait
of a Tahitian model is thought to be Vahine no te tiare (ca)
(Woman with a Flower). The painting is notable for the care with which
it delineates Polynesian features. He sent the painting to his patron
George-Daniel de Monfreid, a friend of Schuffenecker, who was to
become Gauguin's devoted champion in Tahiti. By late summer 1892 this
painting was being displayed at Goupil's gallery in Paris. Art
Nancy Mowll Mathews believes that Gauguin's encounter with
exotic sensuality in Tahiti, so evident in the painting, was by far
the most important aspect of his sojourn there.
Gauguin was lent copies of Jacques-Antoine Moerenhout's (fr) 1837
Voyage aux îles du Grand Océan and Edmond de Bovis' (fr) 1855
État de la société tahitienne à l'arrivée des Européens,
containing full accounts of Tahiti's forgotten culture and religion.
He was fascinated by the accounts of
Arioi society and their god 'Oro.
Because these accounts contained no illustrations and the Tahitian
models were in any case long disappeared, he could give free rein to
his imagination. He executed some twenty paintings and a dozen
woodcarvings over the next year. The first of these was Te aa no
areois (The Seed of the Areoi), representing Oro's terrestrial wife
Vairaumati, now held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His
illustrated notebook of the time, Ancien Culte Mahorie (it), is
preserved in the
Louvre and was published in facsimile form in
In all, Gauguin sent nine of his paintings to Monfreid in Paris. These
were eventually exhibited in
Copenhagen in a joint exhibition with the
late Vincent van Gogh. Reports that they had been well received
(though in fact only two of the Tahitian paintings were sold and his
earlier paintings were unfavourably compared with van Gogh's) were
sufficiently encouraging for Gauguin to contemplate returning with
some seventy others he had completed. He had in any case
largely run out of funds, depending on a state grant for a free
passage home. In addition he had some health problems diagnosed as
heart problems by the local doctor, which Mathews suggests may have
been the early signs of cardiovascular syphilis.
Gauguin later wrote a travelogue (first published 1901) titled Noa
Noa (ca), originally conceived as commentary on his paintings and
describing his experiences in Tahiti. Modern critics have suggested
that the contents of the book were in part fantasized and
plagiarized. In it he revealed that he had at this time taken
a thirteen-year-old girl as native wife or vahine (the Tahitian word
for "woman"), a marriage contracted in the course of a single
afternoon. This was Teha'amana, called Tehura in the travelogue, who
was pregnant by him by the end of summer 1892.[d]
Teha'amana was the subject of several of Gauguin's paintings,
Merahi metua no Tehamana
Merahi metua no Tehamana and the celebrated Spirit of the
Dead Watching, as well as a notable woodcarving Tehura now in the
Page from Gauguin's notebook (date unknown), Ancien Culte Mahorie.
Te aa no areois (The Seed of the Areoi), 1892, Museum of Modern Art
Spirit of the Dead Watching
Spirit of the Dead Watching 1892, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo,
Tehura (Teha'amana), 1891-3, polychromed pua wood, Musée d'Orsay,
Return to France
Gauguin, c. 1895, playing a harmonium at Alphonse Mucha's studio at
rue de la Grande-Chaumière,
Paris (Mucha photo)
Paul Gauguin, 1894,
Oviri (Sauvage), partially glazed stoneware, 75 x
19 x 27 cm, Musée d'Orsay, Paris. "The theme of
Oviri is death,
Oviri stands over a dead she-wolf, while crushing
the life out of her cub." Perhaps, as Gauguin wrote to Odilon Redon,
it is a matter of "not death in life but life in death".
In August 1893, Gauguin returned to France, where he continued to
execute paintings on Tahitian subjects such as Mahana no
atua (it) (Day of the God) and Nave nave moe (pl) (Sacred
spring, sweet dreams). An exhibition at the Durand-Ruel
gallery in November 1894 was a moderate success, selling at quite
elevated prices eleven of the forty paintings exhibited. He set up an
apartment at 6 rue Vercingétorix on the edge of the Montparnasse
district frequented by artists, and began to conduct a weekly salon.
He affected an exotic persona, dressing in Polynesian costume, and
conducted a public affair with a young woman still in her teens, "half
Indian, half Malayan", known as Annah the Javanese (ca).
Despite the moderate success of his November exhibition, he
subsequently lost Durand-Ruel's patronage in circumstances that are
not clear. Mathews characterises this as a tragedy for Gauguin's
career. Amongst other things he lost the chance of an introduction to
the American market. The start of 1894 found him preparing
woodcuts using an experimental technique for his proposed travelogue
Noa Noa. He returned to
Pont-Aven for the summer. In February 1895 he
attempted an auction of his paintings at
Hôtel Drouot in Paris,
similar to the one of 1891, but this was not a success. The dealer
Ambroise Vollard, however, showed his paintings at his gallery in
March 1895, but they unfortunately did not come to terms at that
He submitted a large ceramic sculpture he called
Oviri he had fired
the previous winter to the
Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts 1895
salon opening in April. There are conflicting versions of how it
was received: his biographer and Noa Noa collaborator, the Symbolist
poet Charles Morice (fr), contended( 1920) the work was
"literally expelled" from the exhibition, while Vollard said (1937)
the work was only admitted when Chaplet threatened to withdraw all his
own work. In any case, Gauguin took the opportunity to increase
his public exposure by writing an outraged letter on the state of
modern ceramics to Le Soir.
By this time it had become clear that he and his wife Mette were
irrevocably separated. Although there had been hopes of a
reconciliation, they had quickly quarrelled over money matters and
neither visited the other. Gauguin initially refused to share any part
of a 13,000-franc inheritance from his uncle Isidore he had come into
shortly after returning. Mette was eventually gifted 1,500 francs, but
she was outraged and from that point on kept in contact with him only
through Schuffenhecker, doubly galling for Gauguin as his friends thus
knew the true extent of his betrayal.
By mid 1895 attempts to raise funds for Gauguin's return to
failed, and he began accepting charity from friends. In June 1895
Eugene Carriere arranged a cheap passage back to Tahiti, and Gauguin
never saw Europe again.
Nave nave moe (Sacred spring, sweet dreams), 1894, Hermitage Museum
Annah the Javanese, (1893), Private collection
Paul Gauguin, Alfons Mucha, Luděk Marold, and Annah the Javanese at
Mucha's studio, 1893
Nave Nave Fenua (Delightful Land), woodcut in Noa Noa series, 1894,
Art Gallery of Ontario
Residence in Tahiti
Jules Agostini's 1896 photograph of Gauguin's house in Punaauia. Note
the sculpture of a nude woman.[e]
Gauguin set out for
Tahiti again on 28 June 1895. His return is
characterised by Thomson as an essentially negative one, his
disillusionment with the
Paris art scene compounded by two attacks on
him in the same issue of Mercure de France; one by Emile
Bernard, the other by Camille Mauclair. Mathews remarks that his
Paris had become so bitter that he had no choice but to
try to reclaim his place in
He arrived in September 1895 and was to spend the next six years
living, for the most part, an apparently comfortable life as an
artist-colon near, or at times in, Papeete. During this time he was
able to support himself with an increasingly steady stream of sales
and the support of friends and well-wishers, though there was a period
of time 1898–1899 when he felt compelled to take a desk job in
Papeete, of which there is not much record. He built a spacious reed
and thatch house at
Punaauia in an affluent area ten miles east of
Papeete, settled by wealthy families, in which he installed a large
studio, sparing no expense. Jules Agostini, an acquaintance of
Gauguin's and an accomplished amateur photographer, photographed the
house in 1896. Later a sale of land obliged him to
build a new one in the same neighbourhood.
He maintained a horse and trap, so was in a position to travel daily
Papeete to participate in the social life of the colony should he
wish. He subscribed to the
Mercure de France
Mercure de France (indeed was a
shareholder), by then France's foremost critical journal, and kept up
an active correspondence with fellow artists, dealers, critics, and
patrons in Paris. During his year in
Papeete and thereafter, he
played an increasing role in local politics, contributing abrasively
to a local journal opposed to the colonial government, Les Guêpes
(The Wasps), that had recently been formed, and eventually edited his
own monthly publication Le Sourire: Journal sérieux (The Smile: A
Serious Newspaper), later titled simply Journal méchant (A Wicked
Newspaper). A certain amount of artwork and woodcuts from his
newspaper survive. In February 1900 he became the editor of Les
Guêpes itself, for which he drew a salary, and he continued as editor
until he left
Tahiti in September 1901. The paper under his editorship
was noted for its scurrilous attacks on the governor and officialdom
in general, but was not in fact a champion of native causes, although
perceived as such nevertheless.
For the first year at least he produced no paintings, informing
Monfreid that he proposed henceforth to concentrate on sculpture. Few
of his wooden carvings from this period survive, most of them
collected by Monfreid. Thomson cites Oyez Hui Iesu (Christ on the
Cross), a wooden cylinder half a metre tall featuring a curious hybrid
of religious motifs. The cylinder may have been inspired by similar
symbolic carvings in Brittany, such as at Pleumeur-Bodou, where
ancient menhirs have been Christianised by local craftsmen. When
he resumed painting, it was to continue his long-standing series of
sexually charged nudes in paintings such as Te tamari no atua (Son of
God) and O Taiti (Nevermore). Thomson observes a progression in
complexity. Mathews notes a return to Christian symbolism that
would have endeared him to the colonists of the time, now anxious to
preserve what was left of native culture by stressing the universality
of religious principles. In these paintings, Gauguin was addressing an
audience amongst his fellow colonists in Papeete, not his former
avant-garde audience in Paris.
His health took a decided turn for the worse and he was hospitalised
several times for a variety of ailments. While he was in France, he
had his ankle shattered in a drunken brawl on a seaside visit to
Concarneau. The injury, an open fracture, never healed properly.
Now painful and debilitating sores that restricted his movement were
erupting up and down his legs. These were treated with arsenic.
Gauguin blamed the tropical climate and described the sores as
"eczema", but his biographers agree this must have been the progress
Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?, 1897, oil on
canvas, 139 × 375 cm (55 × 148 in), Boston Museum of Fine Arts,
In April 1897 he received word that his favorite daughter Aline had
died from pneumonia. This was also the month he learned he had to
vacate his house because its land had been sold. He took out a bank
loan to build a much more extravagant wooden house with beautiful
views of the mountains and sea. But he overextended himself in so
doing, and by the end of the year faced the real prospect of his bank
foreclosing on him. Failing health and pressing debts brought him
to the brink of despair. At the end of the year he completed his
monumental Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?,
which he regarded as his masterpiece and final artistic testament (in
a letter to Monfreid he explained that he tried to kill himself after
finishing it). The painting was exhibited at Vollard's
gallery in November the following year, along with eight thematically
related paintings he had completed by July. This was his first
major exhibition in
Paris since his Durand-Ruel show in 1893 and it
was a decided success, critics praising his new serenity. Where do we
come from?, however, received mixed reviews and Vollard had difficulty
selling it. He eventually sold it in 1901 for 2,500 francs (about
$10,000 in year 2000 US dollars) to Gabriel Frizeau (fr), of
which Vollard's commission was perhaps as much as 500 francs.
Tahitian Woman with Evil Spirit, traced monotype, 1899/1900, Städel
Georges Chaudet, Gauguin's
Paris dealer, died in the fall of 1899.
Vollard had been buying Gauguin's paintings through Chaudet and now
made an agreement with Gauguin directly. The agreement
provided Gauguin a regular monthly advance of 300 francs against a
guaranteed purchase of at least 25 unseen paintings a year at 200
francs each, and in addition Vollard undertook to provide him with his
art materials. There were some initial problems on both sides, but
Gauguin was finally able to realise his long cherished plan of
resettling in the
Marquesas Islands in search of a yet more primitive
society. He spent his final months in
Tahiti living in considerable
comfort, as attested by the liberality with which he entertained his
friends at that time.
Gauguin was unable to continue his work in ceramics in the islands for
the simple reason that suitable clay was not available.
Similarly, without access to a printing press (
Le Sourire was
hectographed), he was obliged to turn to the monotype process in
his graphic work. Surviving examples of these prints are rather
rare and command very high prices in the saleroom.
Gauguin's vahine during all this time was Pahura (Pau'ura) a Tai, the
daughter of neighbours in
Punaauia and aged fourteen and a half when
he took her in. She gave him two children, of which a daughter
died in infancy. The other, a boy, she raised herself. His descendants
Tahiti at the time of Mathews' biography. Pahura
refused to accompany Gauguin to the Marquesas away from her family in
Punaauia (earlier she had left him when he took work in
10 miles away). When the English writer Willam Somerset Maugham
visited her in 1917, she could offer him no useful memory of Gauguin
and chided him for visiting her without bringing money from Gauguin's
Oyez Hui Iesu (Christ on the Cross), rubbing (reverse print) from an
1896 wooden cylinder, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
O Taiti (Nevermore), 1897, Courtauld Institute
Eve (The Nightmare), 1899–1900, monotype, J. Paul Getty Museum
Door lintel at Maison du Jouir, 1901, Musée d'Orsay
Reconstruction of Gauguin's home Maison du Jouir (House of Pleasure)
Gauguin had nurtured his plan of settling in the Marquesas ever since
seeing a collection of intricately carved Marquesan bowls and weapons
Papeete during his first months in Tahiti. However, he found a
society that, as in Tahiti, had lost its cultural identity. Of all the
Pacific island groups, the Marquesas were the most affected by the
import of Western diseases (especially tuberculosis). An
eighteenth century population of some 80,000 had declined to just
4,000. Catholic missionaries held sway and, in their effort to
control drunkenness and promiscuity, obliged all native children to
attend missionary schools into their teens. French colonial rule was
enforced by a gendarmerie noted for its malevolence and stupidity,
while traders, both western and Chinese, exploited the natives
Gauguin settled in
Atuona on the island of Hiva-Oa, arriving 16
September 1901.[g] This was the administrative capital of the island
group, but considerably less developed than
Papeete although there was
an efficient and regular steamer service between the two. There was a
military doctor but no hospital. The doctor was relocated to Papeete
the following February and thereafter Gauguin had to rely on the
island's two health care workers, the Vietnamese exile Nguyen Van Cam
(Ky Dong), who had settled on the island but had no formal medical
training, and the Protestant pastor Paul Vernier, who had studied
medicine in addition to theology. Both of these were to
become close friends.
He bought a plot of land in the center of the town from the Catholic
mission, having first ingratiated himself with the local bishop by
attending mass regularly. This bishop was Monseigneur Joseph Martin,
initially well disposed to Gauguin because he was aware that Gauguin
had sided with the Catholic party in
Tahiti in his journalism.
Père Paillard (Father Lechery), 1902, National Gallery of Art.
Gauguin's lampoon of Bishop Martin.
Gauguin built a two-floor house on his plot, sturdy enough to survive
a later cyclone which washed away most other dwellings in the town. He
was helped in the task by the two best Marquesan carpenters on the
island, one of them called Tioka, tattooed from head to toe in the
traditional Marquesan way (a tradition suppressed by the
missionaries). Tioka was a deacon in Vernier's congregation and became
Gauguin's neighbour after the cyclone when Gauguin gifted him a corner
of his plot. The ground floor was open-air and used for dining and
living, while the top floor was used for sleeping and as his studio.
The door to the top floor was decorated with a polychrome wood-carved
lintel and jambs that still survive in museums. The lintel named the
house as Maison du Jouir (i.e. House of Pleasure), while the jambs
echoed his earlier 1889 wood-carving Soyez amoureuses vous serez
heureuses (i.e. Be in Love, You Will Be Happy). The walls were
decorated with, amongst other things, his prized collection of
forty-five pornographic photographs he had purchased in Port Said on
his way out from France. In the early days at least, until
Gauguin found a vahine, the house drew appreciative crowds in the
evenings from the natives, who came to stare at the pictures and party
half the night away. Needless to say, all this did not endear
Gauguin to the bishop, still less when Gauguin erected two sculptures
he placed at the foot of his steps lampooning the bishop and a servant
reputed to be the bishop's mistress, and yet still less when
Gauguin later attacked the unpopular missionary school system.
The sculpture of the bishop, Père Paillard, is to be found at the
National Gallery of Art, Washington, while its pendant piece Thérèse
realized a record $30,965,000 for a Gauguin sculpture at a Christie's
New York 2015 sale. These were among at least eight
sculptures that adorned the house according to a posthumous inventory,
most of which are lost today. Together they represented a very public
attack on the hypocrisy of the church in sexual matters.
State funding for the missionary schools had ceased as a result of the
1901 Associations Bill promulgated throughout the French
empire. The schools continued with difficulty as
private institutions, but these difficulties were compounded when
Gauguin established that attendance at any given school was only
compulsory within a catchment area of some two and a half miles
radius. This led to numerous teenage daughters being withdrawn from
the schools (Gauguin called this process "rescuing"). He took as
vahine one such girl, Vaeoho (also called Marie-Rose), the
fourteen-year-old daughter of a native couple who lived in an
adjoining valley six miles distant. This can scarcely have been a
pleasant task for her as Gauguin's sores were by then extremely
noxious and required daily dressing. Nevertheless, she lived
willingly with him and the following year gave birth to a healthy
daughter whose descendants continue to live on the island.
Le Sorcier d'Hiva Oa (Marquesan Man in a Red Cape), 1902, Musée d'art
moderne et d'art contemporain de Liège
By November he had settled into his new home with Vaeoho, a cook
(Kahui), two other servants (nephews of Tioka), his dog, Pegau (a play
on his initials PG), and a cat. The house itself, although in the
center of the town, was set amongst trees and secluded from view. The
partying ceased and he began a period of productive work, sending
twenty canvases to Vollard the following April. He had thought he
would find new motifs in the Marquesas, writing to Monfreid:
I think in the Marquesas, where it is easy to find models (a thing
that is growing more and more difficult in Tahiti), and with new
country to explore – with new and more savage subject matter in
brief – that I shall do beautiful things. Here my imagination has
begun to cool, and then, too, the public has grown so used to Tahiti.
The world is so stupid that if one shows it canvases containing new
and terrible elements,
Tahiti will become comprehensible and charming.
My Brittany pictures are now rose-water because of Tahiti;
become eau de Cologne because of the Marquesas.
— Paul Gauguin, Letter LII to George Daniel de Monfreid, June 1901
In fact his Marquesas work for the most part can only be distinguished
Tahiti work by experts or by their dates, paintings such
as Two Women remaining uncertain in their location. For Anna
Szech, what distinguishes them is their repose and melancholy, albeit
containing elements of disquiet. Thus, in the second of two versions
of Cavaliers sur la Plage (Riders on the Beach), gathering clouds and
foamy breakers suggest an impending storm while the two distant
figures on grey horses echo similar figures in other paintings that
are taken to symbolise death.
Gauguin chose to paint landscapes, still lifes, and figure studies at
this time, with an eye to Vollard's clientele, avoiding the primitive
and lost paradise themes of his
Tahiti paintings. But there is a
significant trio of pictures from this last period that suggest deeper
concerns. The first two of these are Jeune fille à l'éventail (Young
Girl with Fan) and Le Sorcier d'Hiva Oa (Marquesan Man in a Red Cape).
The model for Jeune fille was the red-headed Tohotaua, the daughter of
a chieftain on a neighbouring island. The portrait appears to have
been taken from a photograph that Vernier later sent to Vollard. The
model for Le sorcier may have been Haapuani, an accomplished dancer as
well as a feared magician, who was a close friend of Gauguin's and,
according to Danielsson, married to Tohotau. Szech notes that the
white color of Tohotau's dress is a symbol of power and death in
Polynesian culture, the sitter doing duty for a
Maohi culture as a
whole threatened with extinction. Le Sorcier appears to have been
executed at the same time and depicts a long-haired young man wearing
an exotic red cape. The androgynous nature of the image has attracted
critical attention, giving rise to speculation that Gauguin intended
to depict a māhū (i.e. a third gender person) rather than a taua or
priest. The third picture of the trio is the mysterious
and beautiful Contes barbares (Primitive Tales) featuring Tohotau
again at the right. The left figure is Jacob Meyer de Haan, a painter
friend of Gauguin's from their
Pont-Aven days who had died a few years
previously, while the middle figure is again androgynous, identified
by some as Haapuani. The Buddha-like pose and the lotus blossoms
suggests to Elizabeth Childs that the picture is a meditation on the
perpetual cycle of life and the possibility of rebirth. As these
paintings reached Vollard after Gauguin's sudden death, nothing is
known about Gauguin's intentions in their execution.
Self portrait, 1903, Kunstmuseum Basel
In March 1902, the governor of French Polynesia, Édouard
Petit (fr), arrived in the Marquesas to make an inspection. He
was accompanied by Édouard Charlier as head of the judicial system.
Charlier was an amateur painter who had been befriended by Gauguin
when he first arrived as magistrate at
Papeete in 1895. However
their relationship had turned to enmity when Charlier refused to
prosecute Gauguin's then vahine Pau'ura for a number of trivial
offences, allegedly housebreaking and theft, she had committed at
Punaauia while Gauguin was away working in Papeete. Gauguin had gone
so far as to publish an open letter attacking Charlier about the
affair in Les Guêpes. Petit, presumably suitably forewarned,
refused to see Gauguin to deliver the settlers' protests (Gauguin
their spokesman) about the invidious taxation system, which saw most
revenue from the Marquesas spent in Papeete. Gauguin responded in
April by refusing to pay his taxes and encouraging the settlers,
traders and planters, to do likewise.
At around the same time, Gauguin's health began to deteriorate again,
revisited by the same familiar constellation of symptoms involving
pain in the legs, heart palpitations, and general debility. The pain
in his injured ankle grew insupportable and in July he was obliged to
order a trap from
Papeete so that he could get about town. By
September the pain was so extreme that he resorted to morphine
injections. However he was sufficiently concerned by the habit he was
developing to turn his syringe set over to a neighbour, relying
instead on laudanum. His sight was also beginning to fail him, as
attested by the spectacles he wears in his last known self-portrait.
This was actually a portrait commenced by his friend Ky Dong that he
completed himself, thus accounting for its uncharacteristic
style. It shows a man tired and aged, yet not entirely
defeated. For a while he considered returning to Europe, to
Spain, to get treatment. Monfreid advised him:
In returning you will risk damaging that process of incubation which
is taking place in the public's appreciation of you. At present you
are a unique and legendary artist, sending to us from the remote South
Seas disconcerting and inimitable works which are the definitive
creations of a great man who, in a way, has already gone from this
world. Your enemies – and like all who upset the mediocrities you
have many enemies – are silent; but they dare not attack you, do not
even think of it. You are so far away. You should not return... You
are already as unassailable as all the great dead; you already belong
to the history of art.
— George Daniel Monfreid, Letter to
Paul Gauguin circa October
In July 1902, Vaeoho, by then seven months pregnant, left Gauguin to
return home to her neighbouring valley of Hekeani to have her baby
amongst family and friends. She gave birth in September, but did not
return. Gauguin did not subsequently take another vahine. It was at
this time that his quarrel with Bishop Martin over missionary schools
reached its height. The local gendarme Désiré Charpillet, at first
friendly to Gauguin, wrote a report to the administrator of the island
group, who resided on the neighbouring island of Nuku Hiva,
criticising Gauguin for encouraging natives to withdraw their children
from school as well as encouraging settlers to withhold payment of
their taxes. As luck would have it, the post of administrator had
recently been filled by François Picquenot, an old friend of
Tahiti and essentially sympathetic to him. Picquenot
advised Charpillet not to take any action over the schools issue,
since Gauguin had the law on his side, but authorised Charpillet to
seize goods from Gauguin in lieu of payment of taxes if all else
failed. Possibly prompted by loneliness, and at times unable to
paint, Gauguin took to writing.
L'Esprit Moderne et le Catholicisme (front and back covers, 1902,
Saint Louis Art Museum
In 1901, the manuscript of Noa Noa that Gauguin had prepared along
with woodcuts during his interlude in France was finally published
with Morice's poems in book form in the
La Plume edition (the
manuscript itself is now lodged in the
Louvre museum). Sections of it
(including his account of Teha'amana) had previously been published
without woodcuts in 1897 in La Revue Blanche, while he himself had
published extracts in Les Guêpes while he was editor. The La Plume
edition was planned to include his woodcuts, but he withheld
permission to print them on smooth paper as the publishers
wished. In truth he had grown disinterested in the venture with
Morice and never saw a copy, declining an offer of one hundred
complimentary copies. Nevertheless, its publication inspired him
to consider writing other books. At the beginning of the year
(1902), he had revised an old 1896–97 manuscript L'Esprit Moderne et
le Catholicisme (The Modern Spirit and Catholicism) on the Roman
Catholic church, adding some twenty pages containing insights gleaned
from his dealings with Bishop Martin. He sent this text to Bishop
Martin, who responded by sending him an illustrated history of the
church. Gauguin returned the book with critical remarks he later
published in his autobiographical reminisces. He next
prepared a witty and well-documented essay Racontars de Rapin (Tales
of a Dabbler) on critics and art criticism, which he sent for
publication to André Fontainas, art critic at the Mercure de France
whose favourable review of Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where
Are We Going? had done much to restore his reputation. Fontainas,
however, replied that he dared not publish it. It was not subsequently
published until 1951.
On 27 May that year, the steamer service Croix du Sud was shipwrecked
Apataki atoll and for a period of three months the island was
left without mail or supplies. When mail service resumed,
Gauguin penned an angry attack on Governor Petit in an open letter,
complaining amongst other things about the way they had been abandoned
following the shipwreck. The letter was published by L'Indepéndant,
the successor newspaper to Les Guêpes, that November in Papeete.
Petit had in fact followed an independent and pro-native policy, to
the disappointment of the Roman Catholic Party, and the newspaper was
preparing an attack on him. Gauguin also sent the letter to Mercure de
France, which published a redacted version of it after his death.
He followed this with a private letter to the head of the gendarmerie
in Papeete, complaining about his own local gendarme Charpillet's
excesses in making prisoners labour for him. Danielsson notes that,
while these and similar complaints were well-founded, the motivation
for them all was wounded vanity and simple animosity. As it happened,
the relatively supportive Charpillet was replaced that December by
another gendarme Jean-Paul Claverie from Tahiti, much less well
disposed to Gauguin and who in fact had fined him in his earliest
Mataiea days for public indecency, having caught him bathing naked in
a local stream following complaints from the missionaries there.
His health further deteriorated in December to the extent that he was
scarcely able to paint. He began an autobiographical memoir he called
Avant et après (Before and After) (published in translation in the US
as Intimate Journals), which he completed over the next two
months. The title was supposed to reflect his experiences before
and after coming to
Tahiti and as tribute to his own grandmother's
unpublished memoir Past and Future. His memoir proved to be a
fragmented collection of observations about life in Polynesia, his own
life, and comments on literature and paintings. He included in it
attacks on subjects as diverse as the local gendarmerie, Bishop
Martin, his wife Mette and the
Danes in general, and concluded with a
description of his personal philosophy conceiving life as an
existential struggle to reconcile opposing binaries.[h] Mathews
notes two closing remarks as a distillation of his philosophy:
No one is good; no one is evil; everyone is both, in the same way and
in different ways. …
It is so small a thing, the life of a man, and yet there is time to do
great things, fragments of the common task.
— Paul Gauguin, Intimate Journals, 1903
He sent the manuscript to Fontainas for editing, but the rights
reverted to Mette after Gauguin's death and it was not published until
1918 (in a facsimile edition), the American translation appearing in
Oviri figure on Gauguin's grave in Atuona.
At the beginning of 1903, Gauguin engaged in a campaign designed to
expose the incompetence of the island's gendarmes, in particular
Jean-Paul Claverie, for taking the side of the natives directly in a
case involving the alleged drunkenness of a group of them.
Claverie, however, escaped censure. At the beginning of February,
Gauguin wrote to the administrator, François Picquenot, alleging
corruption by one of Claverie's subordinates. Picquenot investigated
the allegations but could not substantiate them. Claverie responded by
filing a charge of libeling a gendarme against Gauguin, who was
subsequently fined 500 francs and sentenced to three months'
imprisonment by the local magistrate on 27 March 1903. Gauguin
immediately filed an appeal in
Papeete and set about raising the funds
to travel to
Papeete to hear his appeal.
At this time he was very weak and in great pain. He resorted once
again to using morphine. He died suddenly on the morning of 8 May
Cavaliers sur la Plage [II] (Riders on the Beach), 1902, Private
Landscape with a Pig and a Horse (Hiva Oa), 1903, Ateneum, Helsinki
Still life with Exotic Birds, 1902, Pushkin Museum
Jeune fille à l'éventail (Young Girl with a Fan), 1902, Museum
Contes barbares (Primitive Tales), 1902, Museum Folkwang
Earlier, he had sent for his pastor Paul Vernier, complaining of
fainting fits. They had chatted together and Vernier had left,
believing him in a stable condition. However Gauguin's neighbour Tioka
found him dead at 11 o'clock, confirming the fact in the traditional
Marquesan way by chewing his head in an attempt to revive him. By his
bedside was an empty bottle of laudanum, which has given rise to
speculation that he was the victim of an overdose. Vernier
believed he died of a heart attack.
Maternité II, 1899, Private collection, Sold at auction in Papeete,
Gauguin was buried in the Catholic Calvary Cemetery (Cimetière
Calvaire), Atuona, Hiva 'Oa, at 2 p.m. the next day. In 1973, a bronze
cast of his
Oviri figure was placed on his grave, as he had indicated
was his wish. Ironically his nearest neighbour in the cemetery is
Bishop Martin, his grave surmounted by a large white cross. Vernier
wrote an account of Gauguin's last days and burial, reproduced in
O'Brien's edition of Gauguin's letters to Monfreid.
Word of Gauguin's death did not reach France (to Monfreid) until 23
August 1903. In the absence of a will, his less valuable effects were
Atuona while his letters, manuscripts and paintings were
Papeete on 5 September 1903. Mathews notes that this
speedy dispersal of his effects led to the loss of much valuable
information about his later years. Thomson notes that the auction
inventory of his effects (some of which were burned as pornography)
revealed a life that was not as impoverished or primitive as he had
liked to maintain. Mette Gauguin in due course received the
proceeds of the auction, some 4,000 francs. One of the paintings
Papeete was Maternité II, a smaller version of
Maternité I in the Hermitage Museum. The original was painted at the
time his then vahine Pau'ura in
Punaauia gave birth to their son
Emile. It is not known why he painted the smaller copy. It was sold
for 150 francs to a French naval officer, Commandant Cochin, who said
that Governor Petit himself had bid up to 135 francs for the painting.
It was sold at
Sotheby's for US$39,208,000 in 2004.
Paul Gauguin Cultural Center
Paul Gauguin Cultural Center at
Atuona has a reconstruction of the
Maison du Jouir. The original house stood empty for a few years, the
door still carrying Gauguin's carved lintel. This was eventually
recovered, four of the five pieces held at the
Musée D'Orsay and the
fifth at the
Paul Gauguin Museum in Tahiti.
In 2014, forensic examination of four teeth found in a glass jar in a
well near Gauguin's house threw into question the conventional belief
that Gauguin had suffered from syphilis. DNA examination established
that the teeth were almost certainly Gauguin's, but no traces were
found of the mercury that was used to treat syphilis at the time,
suggesting either that Gauguin did not suffer from syphilis or that he
was not being treated for it.
Gauguin outlived three of his children; his favorite daughter Aline
died of pneumonia, his son Clovis died of a blood infection following
a hip operation, and a daughter, whose birth was portrayed in
Gauguin's painting of 1896 Te tamari no atua, the child of Gauguin's
young Tahitian mistress Pau'ura, died only a few days after her birth
on Christmas Day 1896. His son Émile Gauguin worked as a
construction engineer in the U.S. and is buried in Lemon Bay
Historical Cemetery, in Florida. Another son, Jean René, became a
well-known sculptor and a staunch socialist. He died on 21 April 1961
in Copenhagen. Pola (Paul Rollon) became an artist and art critic and
wrote a memoir, My Father,
Paul Gauguin (1937). Gauguin had several
other children by his mistresses: Germaine (born 1891) with Juliette
Huais (1866–1955); Émile Marae a Tai (born 1899) with Pau'ura; and
a daughter (born 1902) with Mari-Rose. There is some speculation that
the Belgian artist Germaine Chardon was Gauguin's daughter. Emile
Marae a Tai, illiterate and raised in
Tahiti by Pau'ura, was brought
to Chicago in 1963 by the French journalist Josette Giraud and was an
artist in his own right, his descendants still living in
Tahiti as of
Primitivism was an art movement of late 19th-century painting and
sculpture, characterized by exaggerated body proportions, animal
totems, geometric designs and stark contrasts. The first artist to
systematically use these effects and achieve broad public success was
Paul Gauguin. The European cultural elite discovering the art of
Africa, Micronesia, and Native Americans for the first time were
fascinated, intrigued and educated by the newness, wildness and the
stark power embodied in the art of those faraway places. Like Pablo
Picasso in the early days of the 20th century, Gauguin was inspired
and motivated by the raw power and simplicity of the so-called
Primitive art of those foreign cultures.
Gauguin is also considered a
Post-Impressionist painter. His bold,
colorful and design oriented paintings significantly influenced Modern
art. Artists and movements in the early 20th century inspired by him
include Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Georges
Braque, André Derain, Fauvism,
Cubism and Orphism, among others.
Later he influenced
Arthur Frank Mathews
Arthur Frank Mathews and the American Arts and
John Rewald, recognized as a foremost authority on late 19th-century
art, wrote a series of books about the
including Post-Impressionism: From Van Gogh to Gauguin (1956) and an
essay, Paul Gauguin: Letters to
Ambroise Vollard and André Fontainas
(included in Rewald's Studies in Post-Impressionism, 1986), discusses
Gauguin's years in Tahiti, and the struggles of his survival as seen
through correspondence with the art dealer Vollard and others.
Influence on Picasso
Paul Gauguin, 1893–95, Objet décoratif carré avec dieux tahitiens,
terre cuite, rehauts peints, 34 cm, Musée d'Orsay, Paris
Gauguin's posthumous retrospective exhibitions at the Salon d'Automne
Paris in 1903 and an even larger one in 1906 had a stunning and
powerful influence on the French avant-garde and in particular Pablo
Picasso's paintings. In the autumn of 1906, Picasso made paintings of
oversized nude women, and monumental sculptural figures that recalled
the work of
Paul Gauguin and showed his interest in primitive art.
Picasso's paintings of massive figures from 1906 were directly
influenced by Gauguin's sculpture, painting and his writing as well.
The power evoked by Gauguin's work led directly to Les Demoiselles
d'Avignon in 1907.
According to Gauguin biographer David Sweetman, Picasso as early as
1902 became a fan of Gauguin's work when he met and befriended the
expatriate Spanish sculptor and ceramist Paco Durrio (1875–1940), in
Paris. Durrio had several of Gauguin's works on hand because he was a
friend of Gauguin's and an unpaid agent of his work. Durrio tried to
help his poverty-stricken friend in
Tahiti by promoting his oeuvre in
Paris. After they met, Durrio introduced Picasso to Gauguin's
stoneware, helped Picasso make some ceramic pieces and gave Picasso a
La Plume edition of Noa Noa: The
Tahiti Journal of Paul
Gauguin. In addition to seeing Gauguin's work at Durrio's,
Picasso also saw the work at Ambroise Vollard's gallery where both he
and Gauguin were represented.
Concerning Gauguin's impact on Picasso, John Richardson wrote,
The 1906 exhibition of Gauguin's work left Picasso more than ever in
this artist's thrall. Gauguin demonstrated the most disparate types of
art—not to speak of elements from metaphysics, ethnology, symbolism,
the Bible, classical myths, and much else besides—could be combined
into a synthesis that was of its time yet timeless. An artist could
also confound conventional notions of beauty, he demonstrated, by
harnessing his demons to the dark gods (not necessarily Tahitian ones)
and tapping a new source of divine energy. If in later years Picasso
played down his debt to Gauguin, there is no doubt that between 1905
and 1907 he felt a very close kinship with this other Paul, who prided
himself on Spanish genes inherited from his Peruvian grandmother. Had
not Picasso signed himself 'Paul' in Gauguin's honor.
David Sweetman and John Richardson point to the Gauguin sculpture
Oviri (literally meaning 'savage'), the gruesome phallic figure
of the Tahitian goddess of life and death that was intended for
Gauguin's grave, exhibited in the 1906 retrospective exhibition that
even more directly led to Les Demoiselles. Sweetman writes, "Gauguin's
statue Oviri, which was prominently displayed in 1906, was to
stimulate Picasso's interest in both sculpture and ceramics, while the
woodcuts would reinforce his interest in print-making, though it was
the element of the primitive in all of them which most conditioned the
direction that Picasso's art would take. This interest would culminate
in the seminal Les Demoiselles d'Avignon."
According to Richardson,
Picasso's interest in stoneware was further stimulated by the examples
he saw at the 1906 Gauguin retrospective at the Salon d'Automne. The
most disturbing of those ceramics (one that Picasso might have already
seen at Vollard's) was the gruesome Oviri. Until 1987, when the Musée
d'Orsay acquired this little-known work (exhibited only once since
1906) it had never been recognized as the masterpiece it is, let alone
recognized for its relevance to the works leading up to the
Demoiselles. Although just under 30 inches high,
Oviri has an awesome
presence, as befits a monument intended for Gauguin's grave. Picasso
was very struck by Oviri. 50 years later he was delighted when
[Douglas] Cooper and I told him that we had come upon this sculpture
in a collection that also included the original plaster of his cubist
head. Has it been a revelation, like Iberian sculpture? Picasso's
shrug was grudgingly affirmative. He was always loath to admit
Gauguin's role in setting him on the road to Primitivism.
Technique and style
Ta Matete, 1892, Kunstmuseum Basel
Gauguin's initial artistic guidance was from Pissarro, but the
relationship left more of a mark personally than stylistically.
Gauguin's masters were Giotto, Raphael, Ingres, Eugène Delacroix,
Manet, Degas and Cézanne. His own beliefs, and in some
cases the psychology behind his work, were also influenced by
Arthur Schopenhauer and poet Stéphane Mallarmé.
Gauguin, like some of his contemporaries such as Degas and
Toulouse-Lautrec, employed a technique for painting on canvas known as
peinture à l'essence. For this, the oil (binder) is drained from the
paint and the remaining sludge of pigment is mixed with turpentine. He
may have used a similar technique in preparing his monotypes, using
paper instead of metal, as it would absorb oil giving the final images
a matte appearance he desired. He also proofed some of his
existing drawings with the aid of glass, copying an underneath image
onto the glass surface with watercolour or gouache for printing.
Gauguin's woodcuts were no less innovative, even to the avant-garde
artists responsible for the woodcut revival happening at that time.
Instead of incising his blocks with the intent of making a detailed
illustration, Gauguin initially chiseled his blocks in a manner
similar to wood sculpture, followed by finer tools to create detail
and tonality within his bold contours. Many of his tools and
techniques were considered experimental. This methodology and use of
space ran parallel to his painting of flat, decorative reliefs.
Parahi te maras, 1892, Meyer de Schauensee collection
Starting in Martinique, Gauguin began using analogous colours in close
proximity to achieve a muted affect. Shortly after this he also
made his breakthroughs in non-representational colour, creating
canvases that had an independent existence and vitality all their
own. This gap between surface reality and himself displeased
Pissarro and quickly led to the end of their relationship. His
human figures at this time are also a reminder of his love affair with
Japanese prints, particularly gravitating to the naivety of their
figures and compositional austerity as an influence on his primitive
manifesto. For that very reason, Gauguin was also inspired by
folk art. He sought out a bare emotional purity of his subjects
conveyed in a straightforward way, emphasizing major forms and upright
lines to clearly define shape and contour. Gauguin also used
elaborate formal decoration and colouring in patterns of abstraction,
attempting to harmonize man and nature. His depictions of the
natives in their natural environment are frequently evident of
serenity and a self-contained sustainability. This complimented
one of Gauguin's favourite themes, which was the intrusion of the
supernatural into day-to-day life, in one instance going so far as to
recall ancient Egyptian tomb reliefs with Her Name is Vairaumati and
In an interview with L'Écho de
Paris published on 15 March 1895,
Gauguin explains that his developing tactical approach is reaching for
synesthesia. He states:
Every feature in my paintings is carefully considered and calculated
in advance. Just as in a musical composition, if you like. My simple
object, which I take from daily life or from nature, is merely a
pretext, which helps me by the means of a definite arrangement of
lines and colours to create symphonies and harmonies. They have no
counterparts at all in reality, in the vulgar sense of that word; they
do not give direct expression to any idea, their only purpose is to
stimulate the imagination—just as music does without the aid of
ideas or pictures—simply by that mysterious affinity which exists
between certain arrangements of colours and lines and our minds.
In an 1888 letter to Schuffenecker, Gauguin explains the enormous step
he had taken away from
Impressionism and that he was now intent on
capturing the soul of nature, the ancient truths and character of its
scenery and inhabitants. Gauguin wrote:
Don't copy nature too literally. Art is an abstraction. Derive it from
nature as you dream in nature's presence, and think more about the act
of creation than the outcome.
Leda (Design for a China Plate), 1889, zincograph on yellow paper with
watercolour and gouache, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Aha oe feii, 1894, watercolour monotype with pen and red and black
ink, The Art Institute of Chicago
Gauguin began making prints in 1889, highlighted by a series of
zincographs commissioned by Theo van Gogh known as the Volpini Suite,
which also appeared in the Cafe des Arts show of 1889. Gauguin didn't
waver from his printing inexperience and made a number of provocative
and unorthodox choices, such as a zinc plate instead of limestone
(lithography), wide margins and large sheets of yellow poster
paper. The result was vivid to the point of garish, but
foreshadows his more elaborate experiments with colour printing and
intent to elevate monochromatic images. His first masterpieces of
printing were from the Noa Noa Suite of 1893–94 where he essentially
reinvented the medium of woodcutting, bringing it into the modern era.
He started the series shortly after returning from Tahiti, eager to
reclaim a leadership position within the avant-garde and share
pictures based on his
French Polynesia excursion. These woodcut prints
were shown at his unsuccessful 1893 show at Paul Durand-Ruel's, and
most were directly related to paintings of his in which he had revised
the original composition. They were shown again at a small show in his
studio in 1894, where he garnered rare critical praise for his
exceptional painterly and sculptural effects. Gauguin's emerging
preference for the woodcut was not only a natural extension of his
wood reliefs and sculpture, but may have also been provoked by its
historical significance to medieval artisans and the Japanese.
The Universe is Created (L'Univers est créé), from the Noa Noa
suite, 1893–94, Princeton University Art Museum
Change of Residence, 1899, woodcut, private collection
Maruru (Offerings of Gratitude), 1894, woodcut sheet, Yale University
Gauguin started watercolour monotyping in 1894, likely overlapping his
Noa Noa woodcuts, perhaps even serving as a source of inspiration for
them. His techniques remained innovative and it was an apt medium for
him as it didn't require elaborate equipment, such as a printing
press. Despite often being a source of practice for related paintings,
sculptures or woodcuts, his monotype innovation offers a distinctly
ethereal aesthetic; ghostly afterimages that may express his desire to
convey the immemorial truths of nature. His next major woodcut and
monotype project wasn't until 1898–99, known as the Vollard Suite.
He completed this enterprising series of 475 prints from some twenty
different compositions and sent them to dealer Ambroise Vollard,
despite not compromising to his request for salable, conformed work.
Vollard was unsatisfied and made no effort to sell them. Gauguin's
series is starkly unified with black and white aesthetic and may have
intended the prints to be similar to a set of myriorama cards, in
which they may be laid out in any order to create multiple panoramic
landscapes. This activity of arranging and rearranging was
similar to his own process of repurposing his images and motifs, as
well as a symbolism tendency. He printed the work on tissue-thin
Japanese paper and the multiple proofs of gray and black could be
arranged on top of one another, each transparency of colour showing
through to produce a rich, chiaroscuro effect.
In 1899 he started his radical experiment: oil transfer drawings. Much
like his watercolour monotype technique, it was a hybrid of drawing
and printmaking. The transfers were the grand culmination of his quest
for an aesthetic of primordial suggestion, which seems to be relayed
in his results that echo ancient rubbings, worn frescos and cave
paintings. Gauguin's technical progress from monotyping to the oil
transfers is quite noticeable, advancing from small sketches to
ambitiously large, highly finished sheets. With these transfers he
created depth and texture by printing multiple layers onto the same
sheet, beginning with graphite pencil and black ink for delineation,
before moving to blue crayon to reinforce line and add shading. He
would often complete the image with a wash of oiled-down olive or
brown ink. The practice consumed Gauguin until his death, fueling his
imagination and conception of new subjects and themes for his
paintings. This collection was also sent to Vollard who remained
unimpressed. Gauguin prized oil transfers for the way they transformed
the quality of drawn line. His process, nearly alchemical in nature,
had elements of chance by which unexpected marks and textures
regularly arose, something that fascinated him. In metamorphosing a
drawing into a print, Gauguin made a calculated decision of
relinquishing legibility in order to gain mystery and
He worked in wood throughout his career, particularly during his most
prolific periods, and is known for having achieved radical carving
results before doing so with painting. Even in his earliest shows,
Gauguin often included wood sculpture in his display, from which he
built his reputation as a connoisseur of the so-called primitive. A
number of his early carvings appear to be influenced by Gothic and
Egyptian art. In correspondence, he also asserts a passion for
Cambodian art and the masterful colouring of
Persian carpet and
Paul Gauguin, Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?), 1892, sold for
a record US$210 million in 2014.
The vogue for Gauguin's work started soon after his death. Many of his
later paintings were acquired by the Russian collector Sergei
Shchukin. A substantial part of his collection is displayed in
Pushkin Museum and the Hermitage. Gauguin paintings are rarely
offered for sale, their prices reaching tens of millions of US dollars
in the saleroom when they are offered. His 1892 Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When
Will You Marry?) became the world's third-most expensive artwork when
its owner, the family of Rudolf Staechelin, sold it privately for
US$210 million in September 2014. The buyer is believed to be the
Gauguin's life inspired W. Somerset Maugham's novel The Moon and
Mario Vargas Llosa
Mario Vargas Llosa based his 2003 novel The Way to Paradise
on Gauguin's life, and that of his grandmother Flora Tristan.
Anthony Quinn portrayed Gaugin in the 1956 Van Gogh biopic Lust
for Life, and won the
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his
Gauguin is also the subject of at least two operas: Federico
Paul Gauguin (1943); and Gauguin (a synthetic life) by
Michael Smetanin and Alison Croggon.
Déodat de Séverac
Déodat de Séverac wrote his
Elegy for piano in memory of Gauguin.
The Danish-produced film
Oviri (1986) is a biographical film. It
follows the painter from the time he returns to
Paris in 1893 after a
two-year stay in
Tahiti and must confront his wife, his children, and
his former lover. It ends when he returns to
Tahiti two years later.
The Japanese styled Gauguin Museum, opposite the Botanical Gardens of
Papeari in Papeari, Tahiti, contains some exhibits, documents,
photographs, reproductions and original sketches and block prints of
Gauguin and Tahitians. In 2003, the
Paul Gauguin Cultural Center
Atuona in the Marquesas Islands.
In 2014 the painting Fruits sur une table ou nature au petit chien
(1889), with an estimated value of between €10m and €30m (£8.3m
to £24.8m), 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 45,000 lira (about £32).
For a comprehensive list of paintings by Gauguin, see List of
paintings by Paul Gauguin.
Still-Life with Fruit and Lemons (c. 1880)
The Swineherd, Brittany (1888)
Les Alyscamps (1888)
Vision After the Sermon
Vision After the Sermon (Jacob wrestling with the angel) (1888)
Night Café at Arles, (Mme Ginoux) (1888)
Still Life with Japanese
Tahitian Women on the Beach
Tahitian Women on the Beach (1891)
Delightful Land (Te Nave Nave Fenua) (1892)
Arii Matamoe (The Royal End) (1892)
The Moon and the Earth (Hina tefatou) (1893)
The Midday Nap (1894)
Two Tahitian Women
Two Tahitian Women (1899)
Two Women (1901 or 1902)
Self-portrait, 1875–1877, Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Self-portrait, 1885, Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
Self-portrait, 1888, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Self-Portrait with Halo and Snake, 1889, National Gallery of Art,
Christ in the Garden of Olives (Gauguin's self-portrait) 1889, Norton
Museum of Art
Jug in the form of a Head, Self-portrait, 1889. Kunstindustrimuseet,
Self-portrait, 1889–1890, Musée d'Orsay, Paris
Self-portrait, 1893, Musée d'Orsay
Self-portrait, c. 1893, Detroit Institute of Arts
Self-portrait, 1896, São Paulo Museum of Art
Self-portrait (for my friend Daniel), 1896, Musée d'Orsay
Visual arts portal
Frederick Delius (client and friend)
Paul Gauguin's exhibit at Les XX, 1889
^ Thomson notes that Gauguin was alert to the potential for
self-publicity. Camille Pissarro, no admirer of Gauguin, later
scathingly observed that Gauguin had set out to "get himself elected
… as a man of genius".
^ He described his collection in a letter to
Odilon Redon as "a whole
little world of friends". They included Redon's lithograph La Mort as
well as photographs of subjects such as a temple frieze at Borobudur
and an Egyptian fresco from an XVIIIth dynasty tomb at Thebes.
^ Thomson notes that Gauguin offered Ia Orana Maria to the Musée du
Luxembourg, whose officials turned it down unceremoniously, "thus
confirming and reinforcing Gauguin's hatred of officialdom".
^ Mathews notes that Gauguin certainly emphasised the youth of the
girl for dramatic effect. Nevertheless it is likely
Teha'amana was in
her early teens, as young girls at the time were commonly offered as
native wives to Westerners. There is no further record of Teha'amana's
baby. Mathews estimates it was probably adopted in keeping with
^ Mathews records (p.230) an anecdote that a Catholic priest asked him
to remove a provocative sculpture of a nude woman from his grounds.
Not only did Gauguin refuse, but he threatened to sue the priest. In a
note (n. 71) Mathews casts doubt on the source of the story because
she can't find a record for the priest named as Michel Béchu, but the
priest in question would appear to be Léonard Pierre Béchu,
originally entered as "Michel" in cathedral records.
^ There is no direct evidence that Gauguin suffered from syphilis and
none that he infected any of his lovers, as is sometimes
^ Danielsson (1965, p. 235) notes that the day before his boat had put
Nuku Hiva island, scene of Herman Melville's celebrated Typee
some 60 years earlier, championing exactly the sort of primitive
society for which Gauguin yearned. However, Gauguin was apparently
unaware of Melville's book.
^ In his 2008 book Revelation of Modernism: Responses to Cultural
Crises in Fin-de-Siècle Painting,
Albert Boime argued that Gauguin
was influenced by the French occult author
Eliphas Levi and develops
the thesis that Gauguin's primitivism proved inseparable from his
ethnic prejudices and actually contributed to the anti-modernist
rejection of modernism, turning it into an ideological weapon again
^ Gloria Groom, in the 1988
National Gallery of Art
National Gallery of Art exhibition
catalogue (p. 387), asserts that at the end of April the court in
Papeete fined Gauguin 500 francs and sentenced him to one month in
prison, citing Charles Chassé, "Les Démêlés de Gauguin avec les
gendarmes et l'évêque des îles Marquises," Mercure de France, 288
(15 November 1938), 62–75.
References and sources
^ "Gauguin at the Salon d'Automne, 1903 – Catalogue des ouvrages de
peinture, sculpture, dessin, gravure, architecture et art
^ "Gauguin retrospective at the Salon d'Automne, 1906 – Catalogue
des ouvrages de peinture, sculpture, dessin, gravure, architecture et
^ "Prints by Paul Gauguin", ArtServe: Australian National University.
Woodcut and Wood Engraving". TheFreeDictionary.com.
^ Bowness, 1971. p. 3: "Clovis came from Orléans, and there is
nothing in the Gauguin family history of market gardeners and small
businessmen to suggest an artistic temperament."
^ Bowness, 1971, p. 3: "His father, Clovis Gauguin, was a 34-year-old
journalist, who worked for a liberal newspaper that was soon to be
suppressed." And p. 3-4: "Like many other European intellectuals,
Clovis was forced by the failure of the 1848 revolutions to look to
the new world [Western Hemisphere]. There was no future for a liberal
journalist in the France of Napoleon III."
^ Bowness, 1971. p. 3: "Flora Tristan, author and social reformer…"
and "Theirs had been an ill-matched, short-lived marriage; it
culminated in Chazal attempting to murder his wife and being sentenced
to twenty years' imprisonment."
^ Bowness, 1971. P. 3: "… Thérèse Laisnay, whose background
nothing whatever is known…whether she was an aristocrat or
adventuress, it is impossible to say."
^ Bowness, 1971. P. 3: "The Tristan Moscoso family belonged to the old
Aragonese nobility, and was among the early Spanish settlers in Peru,
where they had become powerful and extremely wealthy."
^ Bowness, 1971. p. 3: "They moved to
Paris where Flora was born in
1803: the liaison was a stable one, but Don Mariano died suddenly
before bringing himself to marry his mistress. This catapulted
[Thérèse] from luxury to penury, and the rest of her miserable life
was spent pleading the claims for herself and her daughter."
^ Bowness, 1971. P. 3: "Followed by police spies, she travelled France
addressing meetings of the urban proletariat whom she called upon to
unite. Physically exhausted by such activities, she collapsed and died
in Bordeaux in November 1844, less than four years before the
revolution of 1848 toward which she had made such a signal
^ Bowness, 1971. p. 3
^ Bowness, 1971. P. 4: "…impressed with his wife's South American
connections, he decided to emigrate to Peru and start a newspaper
^ Bowness, 1971. P. 4: "…Alina was well received by her Spanish
grandfather's younger brother, Don Pio Tristan Moscoso. His position
in Peruvian society is indicated by the fact that, only a few months
after Alina's arrival, Don Pio's son-in-law, Echenique, became
President of Peru."
^ Bowness, 1971. P. 4: "Alina and her two small children consequently
found themselves in a tropical paradise where every material need was
met and every sense was indulged…Aline and her two children were
looked after by a Negro nursemaid and a Chinese manservant; and the
racial diversity of Peru was matched by a rich extravagance of dress
and by the brightly painted buildings everywhere in the city." And p.
4: (Gauguin): "I have a remarkable visual memory, and I remember that
period, our house and a whole lot of events.")
^ Bowness, 1972. P. 4: "…[C]ivil war in Peru resulted in Don Pio's
family losing political power." And "[Aline returned] to France
anticipating grandfather Gauguin's death, life with Clovis's bachelor
brother in Orleans, a small legacy from the Gauguins, and a large
annuity from Don Pio, which [the Tristan Moscoso clan] prevented Aline
from ever receiving. Eventually she established herself as a
dressmaker in Paris…"
^ Gayford pp. 99–100
^ Mathews p. 14
^ Mathews p. 18
^ Perruchot p. 44
^ Thompson, Don (2010). The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious
Economics of Contemporary Art. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 49.
^ "The Business of Art: Evidence from the Art Market". getty.edu. J.
Paul Getty Museum. 2004.
^ Thomson p. 27
^ Mathews pp. 48–9
^ Januszczak, Full Story.
^ Mathews p. 62
^ Thomson p. 38
^ a b Mathews pp. 194, 210
^ Thomson pp. 29, 182
^ Bain-Smith, Priscilla. "Gauguin: Where he lived and loved".
bonjourparis.com. Archived from the original on 20 March 2015.
^ a b Jean-François Staszak Géographies de Gauguin, p. 32, at Google
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History, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000.
^ Thomson p. 22
^ Mathews pp.38–40
^ Thomson pp. 27–9
^ Mathews pp. 52–6
^ Mathews pp.56–62
^ Thompson p. 38
^ Mathews pp. 63–7
^ Gersh-Nesic, Berth. "The Eighth
Impressionist Exhibition – 1886".
arthistory.about.com. About.com. Archived from the original on 6
^ Thomson pp. 39–41
^ Mathews pp. 67–8
^ Mathews pp.70–3
^ a b Thomson pp. 42–49
^ Blackburn (1880)
^ Mathews pp. 74–5
^ Staff (2004). "Gauguin, Paul". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 June
2010. With the artist Emile Bernard, Gauguin invented a method of
rendering pictoral space that uses large patches of flat color and
thick line; these techniques influenced early 20th-century artists.
Gauguin's works include Vision after the Sermon: Jacob Wrestling with
the Angel (1888), Mahana no atua (Day of the God) (1814), and Savage
^ "Gauguin and Martinique," Karen Kristine Reichnitzer Pope, 1981.
^ Philip Vickers, "
Martinique in Gauguin's Footsteps", Contemporary
Review, 1 June 1997.
^ Lafcadio Hearn, Two Years in the French West Indies, Harper &
brothers, New York, 1900
^ "Letters to his Wife and Friends," Paul Gauguin, 1946.
^ a b "De mangobomen, Martinique".
^ Thomson pp.52–4, 65
^ Mathews pp 113–7
^ Gayford p. 284
^ Pickvance, Ronald. Van Gogh in Saint-Rémy and Auvers (exh. cat.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), Abrams, New York 1986.
ISBN 0-87099-477-8 p. 62
^ Thomson pp. 76–7
^ a b "Avant et après: avec les vingt-sept dessins du manuscrit
original (1923)" (in French). Internet Archive.
^ Cachin (1992), 16, 19, 123
^ Cachin (1992), 17
^ Cachin (1992), 16
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^ Cachin (1992), 85, 95
^ Stuckey p. 231
^ Ann Dumas (ed.) The Private Collection of Edgar Degas, Volume 1, p.
Google Books At n. 252 the text says Degas said he purchased it
later at Vollard's gallery.
^ a b Ann Dumas (ed.) The Private Collection of Edgar Degas, Volume 1,
p. 56, at Google Books
^ Cachin (1992), 123
^ Stuckey p. 260
^ a b Thomson p. 125
^ Thomson p. 127
^ Mathhews pp.157–67
^ "The painter who invented his own brand of artistic license," Arifa
Akbar, The Independent, 20 April 2010.
^ Thomson p. 143
^ Thomson pp. 143, 145, 152
^ Thomson p.133
^ a b c Thomson p. 182
^ Thomson pp. 92, 136–8
^ Mathews p. 187
^ Danielsson (1969) p. 24
^ Thomson p. 156
^ Mathews p.174
^ Mathews p.193
^ Thomson p.166
^ a b Mathews p. 188
^ Cotter, Holland. "The Self-Invented Artist". The New York Times.
Retrieved 9 December 2010.
^ Solomon-Godeau pp. 326, 328
^ Mathews pp. 179–82
^ Gauguin (1903) Noa Noa pp 63–9
^ Smart, Alastair. "Is it wrong to admire Paul Gauguin's art?" (The
Daily Telegraph). telegraph.co.uk. Archived from the original on 8
^ Mathews p. 180
^ "Tehura". musee-orsay.fr. Musée d'Orsay.
^ a b "Oviri". musee-orsay.fr. Musée d'Orsay.
^ Dario Gamboni, Potential Images: Ambiguity and Indeterminacy in
Modern Art, p. 96, at Google Books
^ The Art Institute of Chicago. (2005). "Examination: Gauguin's Day of
the God (Mahana No Atua)". Art Explorer. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Paul Gauguin.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Paul Gauguin
Paul Gauguin at the Museum of Modern Art
Gauguin Paintings, Sculpture, and Graphic Works at the Art Institute
Paul Gauguin at Project Gutenberg
Works by or about
Paul Gauguin at Internet Archive
Gauguin's Cats in Art
The Private Collection of Edgar Degas, fully digitized text from The
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art libraries (see essay: Degas and Gauguin
Paul Gauguin in American public collections, on the French Sculpture
Gauguin's Intimate Journals, 1936 - on Archive
Study of a Nude
Study of a Nude (1880)
Still Life with Profile of Laval
Still Life with Profile of Laval (1886)
Vision after the Sermon (1888)
The Painter of Sunflowers
The Painter of Sunflowers (1888)
Fruits on a Table
Fruits on a Table (1889)
The Flageolet Player on the Cliff
The Flageolet Player on the Cliff (1889)
The Yellow Christ
The Yellow Christ (1889)
The Green Christ
The Green Christ (1889)
Christ on the Mount of Olives (1889)
Self-Portrait with Halo and Snake
Self-Portrait with Halo and Snake (1889)
Still Life with Head-Shaped Vase and Japanese
Tahitian Women on the Beach
Tahitian Women on the Beach (1891)
Vahine no te vi
Vahine no te vi (1892)
Fatata te Miti
Fatata te Miti (By the Sea) (1892)
Spirit of the Dead Watching
Spirit of the Dead Watching (1892)
When Will You Marry?
When Will You Marry? (1892)
Aha Oe Feii?
Aha Oe Feii? (1892)
Arii Matamoe (1892)
Merahi metua no Tehamana
Merahi metua no Tehamana (1893)
Nave Nave Mahana
Nave Nave Mahana (1896)
Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?
Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (1897/1898)
Two Tahitian Women
Two Tahitian Women (1899)
Jug in the Form of a Head, Self-Portrait
Jug in the Form of a Head, Self-Portrait (1889)
Soyez amoureuses vous serez heureuses
Soyez amoureuses vous serez heureuses (wood panel, 1889)
Objet décoratif carré avec dieux tahitiens
Objet décoratif carré avec dieux tahitiens (sculpture, 1893-1895)
Oviri (ceramic sculpture, 1895)
Le Sourire (1899-1900)
Les XX, 1889
The Volpini Exhibition, 1889
Paul Gauguin Museum (Tahiti)
Paul Gauguin Cultural Center
Jean René Gauguin (son)
Flora Tristan (grandmother)
Vincent van Gogh
Meijer de Haan
George-Daniel de Monfreid
Theo van Gogh
Lust for Life (1956 film)
Rebel in Paradise (1960 film)
The Wolf at the Door
The Wolf at the Door (1986 film)
Paradise Found (2003 film)
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Vincent van Gogh
Théo van Rysselberghe
Der Blaue Reiter
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Robert Antoine Pinchon
Le Barc de Boutteville
La Libre Esthétique
Salon des Indépendants
Salon des Cent
Salon des Tuileries
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