Life and Times
As a 5 year old, Gauguin travelled to Peru. During the long voyage, his father fell ill and died. The young Gauguin lived with his mother and sister in Peru for 4 years.
At 17, Gauguin joined the merchant Navy for a 3 year stint of military service. On his return to Paris, he successfully pursued a career as a stockbroker. He met and married a Danish woman, Mette Sophie, with whom he had 5 children.
To start with, Gauguin saw art as a leisure pursuit. He loved to visit galleries, and to purchase interesting works. Gauguin met and befriended Camille Pissarro, who encouraged, advised and helped. Gauguin and Pissarro often painted together.
Gauguin began painting full-time, leaving him financially impoverished. His family left to move in with Mette's parents.
Obsession drove the artist, and his painting continued to improve and evolve. He spent a turbulent and frenetic 9 weeks with Van Gogh in Arles.
The style of Gauguin's paintings veered towards Cloisonnism, a technique in which the painting consists of blocks of colour separated by black lines. Gauguin's most famous painting in this style is The Yellow Christ.
In 1891, Gauguin, poor and unrecognised, sailed to Tahiti to escape the strictures of the European art establishment. Gauguin loved the simple life, producing many exotic masterpieces.
Gauguin finally succumbed to syphilisis at the age of 54.