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Gauguin 1848 -1903




Eugene Henri Paul Gauguin was a Post- Impressionist artist who influenced Matisse and the Fauvists because of his use of line. He was born in Paris but was of Peruvian descent and lived in Peru for a few years. After school he joined the Navy and then became a stockbroker in paris, buying and collecting influential paintings. Following the stock market crash he developed his own interest in painting and began to do so full time. Gauguin exhibited with the Impressionists in 1881 and 1882 but quickly became disillusioned with European art of the time and looked to the art of Africa and Asia which he saw to be full of depth and meaning.
He formed a love of colour and the picture plane as well as stained glass and cloisonne enamel. Both these techniques involve hard black outlines and large expanses of colour. In 1886 Gauguin travelled to Martinique in search of the primitive and rich, tropical colours. When he returned to France he was persuaded to join Van Gogh, sharing a love of colour and lines in expressive art which lasted for a short while. He then moved to Tahiti to escape “everything that is artificial and conventional” and absorbed the Tahitian culture, making prints and woodcuts.
He would call his combination of colour and line Synthetism because they became intertwined as one. He continued to develop his style, portraying the native people from an exoticized perspective and siding with them rather than the colonial authorities. Gauguin would eventually die on a remote Polynesian island in 1903. His work was not fully recognised until after his death, but it is to him that the artistic movement Primitivism is first credited.
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