Paul Gauguin Paintings
An inspiration to artists like Pablo Picasso, Paul Gaugin (1848-1903) did not receive much critical appreciation while he was alive. Though, he is now applauded for his radical use of colour that paved the way for Synthetism, he wasn’t a successful artist in his days.
He spent the later years of his life in the French Peninsula which became the inspiration behind several of his famous works. One of these was created in Tahiti: Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (1897-1898)
Paul Gaugin (1848-1903) was a French painter and sculptor, best known for his ‘primitive’ expression of art and landscape paintings. The beginnings of Gauguin art emerged quite late in his life as he was a merchant marine and stockbroker before picking up a paint brush. He is seen as one of the greatest Post-Impressionist artists and Paul Gauguin art is notable for its use of Synthetism and Symbolism. His father was a journalist and his mother was the daughter of a Peruvian socialist leader. Feeling suffocated by the lack of freedom of press in France, he left for Lima with his family to start a newspaper but died on the way. Gauguin’s mother raised him and his sister with their extended family in Lima.
In 1855, they returned to Paris and Gauguin finished his formal education before joining the merchant marine at the age of 17, since it was mandatory. Three years later, he joined the merchant navy and in 1872 he returned to Paris where he started working as a stockbroker. Several people mocked Paul Gauguin art due to his old profession, but that didn’t deter him from his artistic pursuits. Today, Paul Gauguin famous paintings are some of the most expensive artworks in the world. After his mother’s death in 1867, he lived with his appointed guardian, Gustave Arosa—an art collector and wealthy patron. Through him, Paul Gauguin was introduced to the work of Eugene Delacroix, Gustave Courbet, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and several other artists. These influential artists greatly inspired the development of Paul Gauguin art.
Arosa introduced Gauguin to Mette Sophia Gad, whom he married in 1873. Together, they had five children. He began receiving artistic training and frequented a studio for the same. One of the earliest Gauguin landscape paintings, Landscape at Viroflay, was selected for an exhibition in France in 1876. Under Pissarro’s guidance, Gauguin mastered the techniques of drawing and painting—a skill that gradually made its way into several of Paul Gauguin famous paintings. Gauguin’s career as a stockbroker ended with the crash of French stock market in 1882. He saw it as a good change as now he could turn his focus entirely towards art. In 1886, Paul Gaugin art was showcased in the eighth and final impressionist exhibition, with 19 paintings. Here, Gauguin art was overshadowed by Georges Seurrat’s paintings, especially A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.
Disappointed with the outcome of this exhibition, he traveled to Martinique in 1887, intending to ‘live like a savage’. Gauguin landscape paintings like Tropical Vegetation and By the Sea were created in this year and reveal a distinct shift from his Impressionist techniques. Gauguin art was now made with blocks of colour on large and unmodulated planes. On his return to France, he settled into an exotic identity, declaring that his Peruvian roots added an element of Primitivism to his personality and art. From this point on, many of Paul Gauguin famous paintings had this element. Perhaps, that’s what made Gauguin art stand out in a crowd. Paul Gauguin art no longer used colours and lines to create a scene. Instead, he tried to evoke a certain feeling in the viewer by using certain pictorial elements.
In the fall of 1888, Paul Gauguin moved to Arles in Paris, upon Van Gogh’s insistence. While Van Gogh was proud of his city, Gauguin called it “the dirtiest hole in the South”. Van Gogh’s aim was to start an artists’ colony with Gauguin at the helm of affairs, mentoring budding artists like him. It was with this purpose of creating an artists’ colony that Van Gogh bought the ‘Yellow House’, intending to turn it into a studio. However, Paul Gauguin did not share his enthusiasm for this idea. Inspired by Gauguin landscape paintings and the power of Paul Gauguin art works, He often referred to him as “master” and greatly valued Gauguin’s opinions. In turn, Gauguin was also influenced by Van Gogh as the two spent nine weeks together. One of the most famous Paul Gauguin art pieces from this time was The Painter of Sunflowers. It was a portrait of Van Gogh and highlighted his focussed gaze on the canvas.
The now-famous genre of Gauguin landscape paintings started taking shape in Arles, with artworks like Landscape near Arles and Old Women of Arles. Any conversation around Paul Gauguin landscape paintings is incomplete without mentioning Night Café in Arles, Madame Ginoux which was painted in response to a Van Gogh artwork: The Night Café in the Place Lamartine in Arles. Both artists produced a large body of work during these nine weeks, for which they are revered till date. On 23rd December 1988, Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh’s nine-week long torrid artistic partnership came to an end. After an altercation with Gauguin, Van Gogh cut off a part of his ear, wrapped it up and gave it to a woman he frequented in a brothel, leaving her screaming with trepidation. Gauguin spent that night in a hotel and left Paris the next day. Within a year, he had settled in Tahiti and the beautiful era of Paul Gauguin Tahitian paintings had begun as he created some of his most important and renowned works.
He imagined Tahiti to be a place relatively untouched by modern civilization. However, on arriving there, he was quite disappointed by the extent of French colonization. Despite this, he immersed himself into Tahitian culture and even gave his paintings Tahitian titles. Paul Gauguin Tahitian paintings portrayed idyllic landscapes, oceanic iconography and spiritual settings. These elements found expressions in all forms of Gauguin art, including woodcuts and sculptures. Nafea Faa Ipoipo is not just one of Paul Gauguin most famous painting, but also the third most expensive painting in the world. Created in 1892 on his first visit to Tahiti, the title translates to “When Will You Marry”. In February 2015, it was sold for a whopping $210 million by Rudolf Staechelin to Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani. Gauguin landscape paintings are a beautiful treasure to behold, and artworks like Tahitian Landscape, The Swineherd, The Hibiscus Tree, The Large Tree and Haystacks in Brittany are proof of this. Like his contemporary, Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin art also includes an array of self-portraits like Self-portrait dedicated to Carriere and Self Portrait (1889). He also made several fascinating portraits like Madame Alexandre Kohler, Polynesian Woman with Children, and The Ancestors of Tehamana. With continuous exposure to natural light for a long time, these paintings may lose their natural lustre. However, at Bimba, we bring you high quality framed Giclee prints which retain their shine, thanks to exceptional ink quality and museum-grade paper. Further, each print comes framed in an acrylic plexiglass which produces minimal glare, so even the sun doesn’t shine brighter than your artwork!