Eugene Henri Paul Gauguin
Born of mixed blood to a middle-class family in 1848, Paul Gauguin spent his youth in France, Peru, and with the French merchant marine. When he settled down in Paris, he led a affluent lifestyle as a stockbroker with his wife and five children. As a collector of Impressionist paintings, an encounter with artist Camille Pissarro at an Impressionist exhibition sparked his interest in the pursuit of art and he exhibited with them five times in the decade between 1876-1886. He took up painting full time in 1883, eventually leading a group of experimental artists known as Pont-Aven. However, his paintings did not sell and his wife and children were forced to live with her family. In 1891, Gauguin, in debt and despair, left Europe for the South Seas and stayed there for most of the remainder of his life. The depression he faced led him to a suicide attempt, which failed. He died in 1903.
Gauguin started off with Impressionist intentions but by the time he took up painting full time, he had abandoned Impressionist principles. Gauguin's style is marked with solidity, form, and unnatural colors. He abandoned principles of Renaissance perspective and used outlines for definition. Objects were flattened and the figures he painted were not fully natural, nor realistic. The greens used for the darks in the skin are blended to some degree but is very apparent in his paintings.
Gauguin's subject matter is more exotic than those of other artists of his time. He left the materialized European world for one more raw and primitive in the South Seas, thus the paintings he produced outside of Europe had subjects of unique characteristics. The dark skinned women he painted distinguish his signature paintings in Tahiti and Marquises.
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