Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin

After starting out as a painter within the Impressionist movement, Paul Gauguin shifted towards Synthetism and Symbolism, making him one of the most influential artists of the late nineteenth century. It was after the financial crisis that struck France in 1882 when Gauguin, by then married with four children, decided to devote himself fully to painting. His relationship with Camille Pissarro appears to have played a part in this decision and therefore, after loosing his job, Gauguin moved to Rouen, where the Great Master of Impressionism was living at the time. Gauguin made the first of his trips to Pont-Aven in Brittany. There he came into contact with Émile Bernard, whose style would have a determining influence on him. Gauguin embraced Bernard’s Cloisonism of flat colours and the use of line in the manner of stained-glass window craft, stamping it with his personal, symbolist imprint. His Vision of the Sermon (Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland), executed in 1888, epitomises this stylistic period. He later met Paul Sérusier, an instrumental figure in the establishment of the Nabis, who regarded Gauguin as an example for both his painting and his legendary personality. After a few years of very little artistic activity in Tahiti, in 1901 he settled in Hiva Oa, in the Marquesas Islands. There he at last found a primitive civilization uncontaminated by the West to inspire him, and, despite his health problems, he enthusiastically painted what were to be his last works.