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Paul Gauguin

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Paul Gauguin
Modern (19th century-1945) Painting
(Paris, France, June 7, 1848 - May 8, 1903, Atuona, French Polynesia)
Gauguin, Paul (preferred, index, V, French-P) Paul Gauguin (display, V) Gauguin, Eugene-Henri-Paul (V) Gaugin, Paul (V) Eugene-Henri Gauguin (V)
Paul Gauguin is among the foremost artists of the late-nineteenth-century French Post-Impressionist movement, and he is best known for his paintings, woodcuts, engravings, and sculptures. Gauguin was born to wealthy liberal activists Clovis Gauguin and Aline Chazal in Paris. He displayed little interest in art during his childhood, aside from creating a carved dagger case. But his interactions with professional artists in Paris, following his military service in 1871, piqued his interest in Impressionism. Gauguin’s most formative experiences came from working (and living) with the painter Vincent Van Gogh; Van Gogh’s brother, the art dealer Theo Van Gogh; and ceramicist Ernest Chaplet in the 1880s. Despite his artistic aptitude, he prioritized his career as a stockbroker for most of his life. Enamored with the idea of escaping European culture, Gauguin moved to Tahiti in 1891. He immersed himself in what he understood to be traditional Polynesian practices. His paintings portrayed paradisal landscapes in vivid colors, and he experimented with printmaking techniques and rough-hewn woodcuts. When Gauguin returned to Paris in 1893, he attempted to leverage his Oceanic influences by creating commercial works centered on primitivist fantasies; however, this venture met with little success. Frustrated by the lack of public recognition, Gauguin returned to Tahiti in 1895. He moved to Hiva Oa, Marquesas, in 1901, intending to distance himself from the increasing number of French missionaries and traders on the island. He constructed a studio, heavily inspired by Māori traditional homes in New Zealand, where he created works with Polynesian women as his primary subjects. Two years after his move to Hiva Oa, Gauguin died from cardiovascular syphilis at the age of 54.


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