Gauguin Paul Paul Gauguin, short biography, prints gallery Champetier
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Paul Gauguin

"In painting there is more to look for in suggestion than in description."


Notes of biography

Paul Gauguin was born in Paris in 1848. Certain conditions of his family life, his father, predispose Paul Gauguin to exoticism. The family was exiled in 1849 to Lima, Peru. His father died during the crossing, he is only 2 years old. He had a happy childhood in Lima, with his mothers uncle and comes back to France, welcomed in Orleans by his fathers family. Paul Gauguin is an uncontrollable and rebellious child, who attends a Parisian boarding school. He is 17 years old when he enlists as a sailor in the French commercial marines.
From the quay of Havre where Manet embarked in 1848, as a sailor, Paul sees himself distanced from the French coast; Paul Gauguin will sail on long voyages from 1865 to 1871 in an interrupted fashion. He is called upon as a military sailor during the Franco-Prussian war.
His mother dies in 1867; Gauguin is 23 years old when he is placed under the tutorage of Gustave Arosa, as a stockbrokers assistant in Paris. Arosa, a photographer, is an enlightened amateur of modern art; he allows Paul Gauguin to meet the impressionists who exhibit for the first time at the studio of Nadar, the famous photographer, and the young man buys the works of Jongkind, Cezanne, Guillaumin and Pissaro. In 1873, Gauguin marries Mette Gad, a young Dane of a good family with whom he will have 5 children.
He teaches himself to paint in 1874. A colleague of his branch trains at the Colarossi Academy. From 1879 Pissaro introduces him to impressionist techniques and he becomes acquainted with the group. In 1883, Paul Gauguin decides to dedicate himself entirely to painting. It is for him a new adventure where he can only triumph. In reality, this choice drives him quickly forward, and his family, living in precarious conditions, would not have survived. Paul Gauguin, lives for a while in Rouen, then in Copenhagen, and on returning to Paris decides to flee.
Brittany, a land where he can live in a state of primitive purity, attracts him; he paints and starts to ceramics. Attracted by the elsewhere, Gauguin leaves for Panama in 1887, then from there, for Martinique. He contracts malaria, and is seduced by the exotic countryside. Paul Gauguin returns to France, works with Emile Bernard, elaborating the concepts of cloissonism and of syntheses, gives the young painter Srusier lessons in historic painting and compromises on a small panel The Talisman, key of the future Nabis movement. The artist goes to Arles where he rests for 2 months, 2 months of conflict and drama, similar to Van Gogh.
Gauguin returns to Paris, paints, tries engraving on zinc, creates ceramics and becomes friends with Daniel de Montfreid who will have great importance in his life. He travels in France, identifies himself with the symbolist writers (Mallarm). Gauguin leaves for Papeete in 1891 and stays 2 years in Tahiti before returning to France; he paints, sculpts, familiarises himself with his new themes. He returns to Paris, starts wood engraving, using the realization of text and the illustrations of Noa Noa.
The wounds he receives from a brawl, when he is in Brittany, will allow for the repercussions that contribute to the progressive degradation of his health. In 1895, Paul Gauguin leaves again for Tahiti, and is never to return. His health degrades, obliging him to spend time at the hospital in Papeete. He produces his great composition Dou venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? O allons-nous? (Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going?). In 1898, he attempts suicide, in vain.
In September 1901, the last escape, he leave of Hiva Oa, in the far away archipelago of the Marquises Islands. Far from everything, he constructs his home, La Maison du Jouir (the House of Love). On the island, he comes into conflict with the administrative and religious authorities. Gauguin takes the defence of the despoiled native people and advises them to not pay their tax; the administration condemns him to several months in prison that averts his death.
Paul Gauguin was found dead on May 8, 1903. His estate and his works were dispersed at an auction; the majority of his drawing and his sculpture where thrown in the garbage.

Artists on display

The art and the artists display: proclamations, galleries, museums, personal or collective exhibitions. On walls or in shop windows, wise or rebels, posters warn, argue, show. Some were specially conceived by an artist for such or such event, other, colder, have only the letter.

Some were created in lithographic technic, most are simple offset reproductions. They are many those who like collecting these rectangles of paper, monochrome or in games of colours, in matt paper or brilliant, with many words or almost dumb.

We are happy also to be able to greet, by this pages, mythical galleries as those of Denise René, Louis Carré, Claude Bernard, Berheim Jeune, Maeght, Pierre Loeb and others.


Complete work(s)

Complete work(s)
* Loeuvre grav de Gauguin , Marcel Guerin, Ed. Floury, Paris, 1927 et Ed. Alan Wosfy Fine Arts, San Francisco, 1980 (Reprint) * Gauguin, Catalogue I , Georges Wildenstein, Ed. Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1964 * Gauguins ceramics , M. Bodelsen, Ed. Faber and Faber, Londres, 1964 * Monotypes , Richard S. Field, Ed. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1973 * Tout loeuvre peint de Gauguin , G. M. Sugana, Ed. Flammarion, Paris, 1981 All the complete works

Bibliographic track and more

To read about the artist :
  • Ce malgr moi de sauvage , F. Cachin, Coll. Dcouvertes, Ed. Gallimard, 1989
  • Gauguin et les Nabis , Arthur Ellridge, Ed. Terrail, 2001
  • Le sauvage imaginaire , S. Gugan, Coll. Laventure de lart, Ed. Chne, 2003
  • Hommage Gauguin, linsurg des Marquises Segalen, Ed. Magellan, Paris 2003
  • Gauguin, Franoise Cachin, Ed. Flammarion, Paris, 2003
  • Gauguin et l'cole de Pont-Aven, Andr Cariou, Ed. Hazan, Paris, 2015
  • G. aux Marquises: L'homme qui rvait d'une le, L. D. Agniel, Ed. Tallandier, 2016
  • Gauguin: L'alchimiste , coll., Ed. RMN, Paris, 2017
  • Gauguin , Franoise Cachin, coll. Monographies, Ed. Flammarion, Paris, 2017
  • Gauguin , David Haziot, coll. Biographies Historiques, Ed. Fayard, Paris, 2017
To read from the artist :
  • Correspondance, 1873-1888 Tome I, Fond. S.-Polignac, Ed. Victor Merlhs 1984
  • Cahier pour Aline (1892), facsimil, Ed. du Sonneur, 2009
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Art movements

+ NABIS MOVEMENT / 1888-1910 / Paul Srusier, Paul Ranson, Henri Gabriel Ibels, Maurice Denis, etc.
All art movements

See & discover

Beyond works currently in stock, it seemed to me useful to combine business with pleasure by letting you discover others works by artists in my gallery. These artworks, now sold or removed from our website, have been in our stock in the past.

These pages will undoubtedly make it possible for some of you to associate an image with its title or the other way round, for others it will be a good time to discover more on such and such artist. For the sake of confidentiality – the pieces being no longer available – we won't display neither their numbering or their price. For whatever reason, make sure to visit this amazing art database with to date 6441 online works just for your pleasure! Michelle Champetier

See & discover