"Art is either plagiarism or revolution", these words were once said by a man who were not recognized for his brilliance until after his demise. There are a few artists who have excelled in their craft without having any formal training. And one of them is Paul Gauguin. In this article, we are going to know more about the life and works of Paul Gauguin as we tackle everything about him. This article is created to remember the man who was considered to be a French avant-garde and a precursor of other mediums of art forms.

Gauguin's Early Life:

Gauguin was born in Paris, France on June 7, 1848, but his family moved to Peru when he became a young child. His father was a journalist who unfortunately passed away on the course of the South American journey while his mother was the daughter of a proto-socialist leader in Peru. At the age of 7, he and his family went back to France to stay in Orleans along with his grandfather. As time progressed, Gauguin signed as a pilot's assistant in the merchant marine in order to accomplish his military duties. He also worked in the French Navy where he learned of his mother's death in the Caribbean and had a short stint as a stockbroker. He then met a Dutch woman named Mette Gad and they got married in 1973.

His Artistic Emergence:

As Gauguin became a man, he had this fondness over painting and he did so during his spare time. Occasionally, he became more serious about art and it grew even more to become his passion in life. One of his paintings was included in the "Salon of 1876", a very important show in Paris during his days. His work got the attention of the Impressionist movement because he employed unique styles in his painting. The Impressionist was a group of artists who wanted to challenge conventional artistic styles and subjects and was largely rejected by the French Art Movement. He was then invited to include some of his works at the group's fourth exhibition in 1879 which was also joined by some great artist like Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and some others.

The more he grows intimate with his craft, the farther he separated himself to his family. Gauguin ever parted ways with his family and they moved to Brittany, France. It was in this period that he was able to make one of his famous creations, the "Vision of the Sermon" which was completed in 1888. He then made "The Yellow Christ" which was a striking depiction of the crucifixion. He then crossed paths with another art great in Vincent Van Gogh. The 2 became friends because of their common interest in drinking, but they soon parted ways as Van Gogh threatened Gauguin with a razor during an argument. Soon after, Paul Gauguin was able to complete his famous oil-painting which is the "Vision After the Sermon".

In 1891, he bought to seek solitary confinement apart from the constructs of the European society so he moved to Tahiti to seek artistic freedom. Upon moving to the country he later found out that it was colonized by the French, so he decided to escape into the mountains and settle with the natives. It was this time that he turned to wood carving where he made the "Oviri", a Tahitian word for savage. He also made other works like the "La Orana Maria" (Tahitian version of the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus) and some more paintings incorporating a 13 year old Tahitian girl as hid model. In 1893, Paul Gauguin returned to France to show his paintings where it was heavily criticized by art experts. Even so, he continued to paint using his revolutionary style.

He then moved to the Marquesas Islands where his health deteriorated. He became ill more often and had suffered several heart attacks. He died on May 3, 1903 alone and isolated.


Paul Gauguin is an example of an artist who wanted to be known for his unique style. He never gave in to the conventionalities and retained true to his ways. And though his works was ever recognized after his death, he will forever be remembered for his revolutionary means that thought about the establishment of modern art.

Source by Brent Tan


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