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Paul Gauguin - French Artist From Art History

Art History - Historical Artists > G > Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin french artist
Fatata te miti (Near the Sea).
1892. Oil on canvas

Paul Gauguin french artist
Self-Portrait with Yellow Christ. 1889. Oil on canvas

Paul Gauguin french artist
Madeleine Bernard.
1888. Oil on canvas.

Paul Gauguin french artist
Ondine. 1889. Oil on canvas

Historical Artist - Paul Gauguin (1843 - 1903)

Paul Gauguin was a leading Post-Impressionist painter. His bold experimentation with coloring led directly to the Synthetist style of modern art while 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 exponent of wood engraving and as art forms.

Paul Gauguin worked as a prosperous stockbrocker in Paris and Copenhagen until the financial crash in 1883. At the age of 35 he abandoned his business career, separated from his family and took up painting full-time.

Paul Gauguin traveled to Panama and Martinique and in 1888 met Emile Bernard in Brittany. He passed through an Impressionist phase but became dissatisfied with the limitations of the style and advanced beyond it. Symbolism was a reaction to Courbet's Realism and came out of an urge to extend Impressionism by seeking new expressive powers. Paul Gauguin used intense, unnatural color without any indication of a light source in the scene.

Paul Gauguin left Paris to live among the peasants of Brittany in Western France where he noticed that religion was still a large part of their lives. He painted pictures about faith The Vision after the Sermon, 1888 is in a style inspired by folk art and medieval stained glass. By now modeling and perspective had given way to fleet, simplified shapes outlined heavily in black with unnatural, brilliant colors. Two years after moving to the countryside, he sailed to Tahiti in 1891 and lived in a native hut. He spent the rest of his life in the South Pacific and his paintings show the influences of the native art of the South Pacific and other non-European styles.

Paul Gauguin believed that the renewal of Western art and civilization must come from native cultures. His art took on its final, simplified form with its intensified color and backgrounds reduced to rhythmically curved shapes. Paul Gauguin traveled between Britanny, Martinique, Arles, and Tahiti in his final years, using the native women of the islands as his primary subject matter. Paul Gauguin died from a terminal illness in the Marquesas Islands, broke and wanted by the law.

Quotes by Paul Gauguin on Art

" What is sweeter to an artist than to make perceptible in a bunch of roses the tint of each one? Although two flowers resemble each other, can they ever be leaf by leaf the same? "

" Seek for harmony and not contrasts, for what accords, not for what clashes. It is the eye of ignorance that assigns a fixed and unchangeable color to every object; beware of this stumbling-block. "

" Go from dark to light, from light to dark. The eye seeks to refresh itself through your work; give it food for enjoyment, not dejection. It is only the sign-painter who should copy the works of others. If you reproduce what another has done you are nothing but a maker of patchwork; you blunt your sensibility and immobilize your coloring. Let everything about you breathe the calm and peace of the soul. "

" Do not finish your work too much. An impression is not sufficiently durable for its freshness to survive a belated search for infinite detail; in this way you let the lava grow cool and turn boiling blood into stone. Though it were a ruby, fling it far from you. "

" A critic at my house sees some paintings. Greatly perturbed, he asks for my drawings. My Drawings? Never! They are my letters, my secrets. The public man - the private man. "

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