Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin, 1848 - 1904

portrait of Paul Gauguin
1893 self portrait, oil on canvas

Born: 7 June 1848, Paris, France
Died: 8 May 1903, Atuona, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

Gauguin's father Clovis was a Republican journalist, three years after his birth the family fled the country after a change in governments. Clovis didn't survive the journey, leaving the three-year-old Paul, a sister, and his mother dependent on relatives. Four years later the family returned to France, living at Orleans with grandparents. At seventeen Paul joined the merchant marine for three years, then the navy for two before becoming a stockbroker at Paris in 1871. This job gave him money to acquire art, he also took up painting himself and was soon painting and exhibiting with the Impressionists. He married a Danish woman, Mette, in 1873, in 1884 the family moved to Copenhagen but a year later he returned to Paris to paint full time. His family, with no steady income, moved in with Mette's parents. On Gauguin's next trip he stopped in Panama and worked as a laborer on the canal, then went on to Martinique. By this time he had incorporated elements from the art he saw on his travels and had moved on to Cloisonnism and Synthetism, and broken off from the Impressionists. He returned to France and at the urging of his dealer, Theo Van Gogh, he moved in with Vincent Van Gogh at Arles. The two did not get along, although both painted a great deal during this time. It was during this visit that Van Gogh cut off his ear, although some have speculated that Gauguin severed the ear in a fight. He returned to Tahiti, unable to get along with the colonial government there he moved on to the Marquesas in 1897. He ran into some additional issues with the church and government there, he was sentenced to three months in prison but died of syphilis before the started serving his time.

Biography from Wikipedia and Lucid Cafe

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