Trivium Art HistoryThe Artists

Paul GauguinIn search of a lost paradise

Paul Gauguin was a French artist born in 1848. Gauguin contributed to the Post-Impressionist movement and died in 1903.

Paul Gauguin styled himself and his art as "savage." Although he began his artistic career with the Impressionists in Paris, during the late 1880s he fled farther and farther from urban civilization in search of an edenic paradise where he could create pure, "primitive" art. Yet his self-imposed exile to the South Seas was not so much an escape from Paris as a bid to become the new leader of the Parisian avant-garde. Gauguin cultivated and inhabited a dual image of himself as, on the one hand, a wolfish wild man and on the other, a sensitive martyr for art. His notoriety helped to promote his astonishing work, which freed color from mimetic representation and distorted form for expressive purposes. Gauguin pioneered the Symbolist art movement in France and set the stage for Fauvism and Expressionism.

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Self Portrait in the role of Jean Valjean

1888

We’re in the presence of an unspoiled creature with the instincts of a wild beast. With Gauguin, blood and sex have the edge over ambition.

Van Gogh and Gauguin to Emile Bernard

1888

The Yellow Christ

1889

For 2 months I’ve been working on a large sculpture , and I dare believe that it’s the best thing I’ve done up to now ... A monster who looks like me is taking the hand of a naked woman —

Gauguin to Vincent Van Gogh

1889

Woman in front of a Still Life by Cézanne

1890

In the Vanilla Grove, Man and Horse

1891

When will you marry?

1892

The Siesta

1892-1894

Young Christian Girl

1894

Portrait of a Young Woman - Vaite Jeanne Goupil

1896

Still Life with Teapot and Fruit

1896

Reo Tahiti (Vairaumati)

1897

Nevermore (O Taiti)

1897

Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?

1897-1898

Two Tahitian Women

1899

The Writings of a Savage

1996