Paul Gauguin

1848 - 1903 · France

Artist biography

Paul Gauguin was born in France in 1848, and is viewed today as one of the most representative painters of the post-Impressionist movement. His artwork influenced symbolism and other avant-garde movements and was recognized after his death in 1903. He was also famous for his wood engraving and woodcuts as art techniques.

Born to a family of entrepreneurs, Paul Gauguin studied at the prestigious boarding school of La Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin. After studying in other institutions he joined the French navy where he served for two years. He was a successful stockbroker and businessman in Paris for a decade, starting his career in business at the age of 23. He married Mette-Sophie Gad, a Danish citizen and moved to Copenhagen where he pursued a career as a tarpaulin salesman, which wasn’t successful.

Gauguin decided to pursue a full-time career in the arts and moved back to Paris in 1885, where he had to accept humble jobs in order to live as an artist in the French capital. The artist is known for depicting exotic landscapes in his art. He traveled to Martinica and Panama where he observed the daily life of locals, inspiring his artworks and producing a total of 11 artworks. Later on in 1890, he traveled to Tahiti, the largest island of the French Polynesia and worked on his most memorable art of polynesian landscapes and women. His first portrait of a polynesian woman is ‘Vahine no te tiare’ (1891) which is currently exhibited in Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen.

He settled down in French polynesia from 1895 until his death. To this date Paul Gauguin’s art is exhibited all over the world, and can be found in museum’s permanent collections such as Musée d’Orsay in Paris or The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Paul Gauguin

  • Artworks in Collections 2

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