Paul Gauguin

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Paul Gauguin
Nafea Faaipoipo (When Are You Getting Married?), 1892 artwork by Paul Gauguin

Nafea Faaipoipo (When Are You Getting Married?), 1892

Born: 06/07/1848
Location: Paris, France
Died: 05/08/1903
Age: 54
Movements Postimpressionism
Nationality French
Expertise Painting

French painter Paul Gauguin was born in Paris in 1848. Best known for his Post-Impressionist work, he was one of the most prolific painters during the late 1800s.

Personal life

Born to a journalist father and a mother who was the daughter of a leading socialist revolutionary, Gauguin spent much of his early life with family in Peru after his father’s death when he was three years old. After securing work as a stockbroker, he became interested in art and began purchasing work from Impressionist artists. Gauguin later lost his job due to financial problems plaguing Peru, and he eventually moved to Denmark with his wife and children. After returning to Paris, he moved around the city several times, working on his painting along the way.


Gauguin witnessed his first Impressionist art exhibit in 1874, and the exhibit had a lasting impression on him. He purchased artwork from Manet, Renoir, and other artists, but he found himself drawn to the work of Pissaro, whose work he tried to replicate. Paul Gauguin was a self-taught artist who formed a close relationship with Pissaro. Seeing the talent of Gaugin, Pissaro and Edgar Degas arranged his first public showing in 1879. Though Gauguin continued painting while working, he eventually lost his job and became a full-fledged artist. He created Vision of the Sermon not long after devoting himself exclusively to art. Because of the high cost of living in Paris, Gauguin moved his family to Rouen. When he proved not to be as successful as he wished, his wife moved their children to Denmark. Gauguin moved with his family to Denmark but then returned to Paris where he continued painting. He also spent some time in Brittany and Tahiti. Gauguin, who claimed he was a descendent of the Inca people, created many pieces relating to religion, including his famous work The Yellow Christ. While in Tahiti, he experimented with woodcarving and writing, and he became a leading proponent of woodcarving as an art form. He created some of his most famous pieces in Tahiti, including Fatata te Miti and la Orana Maria. Though he did move back to Paris for a short period, he spent most of his later years traveling and living in the South Seas.

Fun Facts

  • Despite working together on several projects, Paul Cezanne worried that Gauguin would steal his talent.
  • He often drew portraits of Pissaro, and Pissaro drew portraits of Gauguin.
  • Gauguin enjoyed the primitive art he saw in Tahiti because those pieces incorporated realistic and natural colors.

Related Artists


Some Examples of Paul Gauguin’s Artwork

Gauguin: Tahiti 19th Century artwork by Paul Gauguin

Gauguin: Tahiti 19th Century (“Road in Tahiti”)

Matamoe Or Landscape with Peacocks 1892 artwork by Paul Gauguin

Matamoe Or Landscape with Peacocks 1892


Tahiti Landscape artwork by Paul Gauguin

Tahiti Landscape