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Lifespan: 1848 - 1903
Nationality: French painter
Gender: male
Collection: 511 paintings

Gauguin is best known as his place in art a post-impressionist painter who strived to use bright colors and exotic subjects as a way to represent a more progressive version of art that would later inspire the return of primitivism. Born in 1848 in Paris to a French father and a Spanish-Peruvian mother, his family fled to Peru when Napoleon achieved his victory. Four years later they returned to Europe and Gauguin seemed to be headed for any direction other than a career in art after he attended seminary, joined the merchant marine, became a stockbroker, and married a Dutch girl named Mette Sophia Gad. It wasn’t until Gauguin was 35 years old that he decided to became a full-time artist.

One of the most historically interesting moments in the career and paintings of Paul Gauguin occurred when he spent several weeks in Arles with Vincent van Gogh. However, the personalities of the two artists clashed and Gauguin returned to Paris when apparently, van Gogh threatened him with a razor. Soon, he grew tired of Impressionism and tried to create a style which would incorporate a richness of meaning and symbolic depth to set apart the paintings of Paul Gauguin from other artists who were practicing different styles at the time. One of the definite inspirations for Gauguin’s decision to pursue a more progressive style for his artwork was the reigning popularity of a style called Japonisme, often inspired by wood block prints, and in the oil paintings of Paul Gauguin, he thought that he could create a style which was similar, but very characteristic of his own ideas at the same time. One of the ideas which Gauguin was most focused on portraying within his artwork was the style he named synthetism which was a way of painting that used simplications of form, expressive pure color, and flat prominent outlines.

The Paul Gauguin paintings which display this aesthetic are very easily attributed to the artist because they differ quite greatly from the other movements occurring at the same time in art. During his lifetime, the paintings of Paul Gauguin never reached the level of fame and respect that he felt they deserved. Another great dividing factor between the Paul Gauguin oil paintings and those of many of his contemporaries is that he spent a great deal of time abroad; not simply elsewhere in Europe, but Gauguin spent a great deal of time in Tahiti and the most famous Paul Gauguin artwork reflects subjects, colors, and symbols evoked there.

His works would become an inspiration for modern and surrealist art of the future. Some of the most significant paintings by Paul Gauguin are: The Yellow Christ, Ia Orana Maria, Tahitian Women on the Beach, Te Matete, The Spirit of the Dead Keeps Watch, The Bathers, The Alyscamps, Van Gogh Painting Sunflowers, Night Café at Arles, and Words of the Devil. All of these paintings are clear representations of the slight variations in style that Gauguin embraced through out his artistic career.


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A Clearing 1873 1874 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

A Clearing 1873 1874

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A Farm in Brittany probably 1894 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

A Farm in Brittany probably 1894

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A Meadow on the Banks of the Aven 1888 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

A Meadow on the Banks of the Aven 1888

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Abandoned Garden Rouen 1884 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

Abandoned Garden Rouen 1884

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Adam and Eve 1902 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

Adam and Eve 1902

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Aha oe Fell (aka What Are You Jealous) 1892 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

Aha oe Fell (aka What Are You Jealous) 1892

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Aita Parari te Tamari Vahine Judith (aka Portrait of Annah the Javanese) 1893 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

Aita Parari te Tamari Vahine Judith (aka Portrait of Annah the Javanese) 1893

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Aline Gauguin and One of Her Brothers 1883 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

Aline Gauguin and One of Her Brothers 1883

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Among the Lillies 1889 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

Among the Lillies 1889

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And the Gold of Their Bodies 1901 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

And the Gold of Their Bodies 1901

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Apples and Bowl 1888 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

Apples and Bowl 1888

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Apples Jug Iridescent Glass 1884 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

Apples Jug Iridescent Glass 1884

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Arearea (aka Joyousness) 1892 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

Arearea (aka Joyousness) 1892

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Arearea no varua ino 1894 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

Arearea no varua ino 1894

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Around the Huts 1877 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

Around the Huts 1877

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At the Foot of the Mountain 1892 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

At the Foot of the Mountain 1892

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Atiti 1891 1892 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

Atiti 1891 1892

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Autumn Landscape (aka Farm and Pond) 1877 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

Autumn Landscape (aka Farm and Pond) 1877

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Aven Valley Upstream of Pont Aven 1888 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

Aven Valley Upstream of Pont Aven 1888

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Baby (aka The Nativity) 1896 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

Baby (aka The Nativity) 1896

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Banks of the Oise 1881 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

Banks of the Oise 1881

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Bare Trees 1885 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

Bare Trees 1885

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Basket of Flowers 1884 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

Basket of Flowers 1884

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Bathing Dieppe 1885 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

Bathing Dieppe 1885

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Bathing Place Pont Aven Port 1886 Paintings | Paul Gauguin paintings

Bathing Place Pont Aven Port 1886

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