“Art requires Philosophy just as Philosophy requires Art. Otherwise what would become of beauty?” Gauguin.
Paul Gauguin (1848-1901)
Gauguin a French Post- Impressionist painter well known for his bold and stark paintings didn’t get recognition until after his death. He was a pioneer in the synthetist style of painting and was worlds apart from his impressionist counterparts. His distinctive style has inspired many contemporary artists such as Pablo Picasso and Henry Mercier. Some of his most well known works are the exotic paintings which he painted in Tahiti in the latter half of his career.
Born on 7 June 1848 in Paris to a French father and a Peruvian mother, it’s apparent that Gauguin’s taste for the exotic was ingrained in him right from his birth. Gauguin’s father died during the time the family was sailing to Lima. He led a peaceful childhood and later on moved to Orleans from where he finally moved to his birthplace Paris again. In 1870 Gauguin took up a career as a stock broker and it was during this time that he met and married his wife Mette Sophia Gad.
Inclination Towards Art
While Gauguin might have led a pretty comfortable middle class existence, he was quite interested in painting. It was a hobby which he pursued with a great deal of enthusiasm. In fact after one of his paintings was bought by the Salon of 1867 his desire to paint amplified. There he met the famous French impressionists of his time. They were a group of revolutionaries which had challenged the painting etiquettes of their time. Gauguin was asked to exhibit his paintings along with the famous artists like Degas, Monet and Pissaro.
At the age of 35 Gauguin decided to give up his career in favor of devoting all his time towards painting. It is stated that that he even sent his family of five children and his wife to her parents in Denmark. Though he did go to meet her, he couldn’t keep himself away from his love of painting and returned to France, Brittany. There Gauguin supported himself by painting advertisements on the walls all the while indulging him-self in the one thing he loved the most, painting.
Gauguin’s evocative style and the way he painted the human proportions as being large and colorful was what set him apart from his contemporaries. His style is essentially based upon primitivism which compromises of his own personal symbolism, a few oriental touches along with his own abject vision.
Gauguin And Van Gogh
It was in France that Gauguin met Vincent Van Gogh and painted some of his most famous works, The Yellow Christ (1888) with the eccentric artist. Their nine week friendship came to an abrupt end when Van Gogh threatened Gauguin with a razor. Eventually Van Gogh cut of his own ear in a fit of frenzy. Other sources say that Gauguin attacked Van Gogh during a dispute with a sword. Van Gogh had then took the blame to cover up that.
Visit To Tahiti
Gauguin soon became disenchanted with the European way of life and decided to go to Tahiti to find some inner peace.
Upon landing on the island Gauguin was disappointed to see that much of the area had been colonized. He decided to spend his time away from all this and started living with the locals. He lived in Tahiti until 1893, after that his deteriorating health and low funds forced him to move back to France. He stayed in France for another two years whereupon he again moved back to Tahiti in 1895. In the later stages of life Gauguin contracted syphilis, his carousing and drinking finally got the better of him and he succumbed to death in 1901. Though his illness in no way stopped him from painting and he kept painting till the very end of his life.