1848 – 1903
Paul Gauguin is a French post-impressionist painter whose work has a great influence on 20th century art. Working in bright colours, Gauguin maintains a tense friendship with Vincent van Gogh, with whom he shares aesthetic and thematic similarities. Born on June 7, 1848 in Paris, France, his family quickly moved to Peru where pre-Columbian art left an impact on him. Although his early paintings, such as Les Maraîchers de Vaugirad (1879), owed much to the popular Impressionism of the time, Gauguin began to move away from it by participating in the partitionist movement. “Art is either plagiarism or revolution,” he says. Gauguin then went to Tahiti where he painted the naked women of the island, notably in Manao Tupapau (1892), showing a woman with suspicious expression lying on her belly, watched by a mysterious form draped in black. Upon his return to France, he did not support the metropolis, returned to Tahiti in search of a «purer» life and continued to paint in a unique style that would continue to influence cubism and fauvism. Gauguin died on May 8, 1903 in Atuona, French Polynesia at the age of 54.