Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903) was a painter, print maker, and sculptor associated with the Post-Impressionist and Symbolist movements. He studied under Camille Pissarro (French, 1831–1903), and refined his artistic style amid other avant-garde artists in Pont-Aven, Brittany. In 1888, Gauguin moved to Arles in the south of France to join his friend Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890) for two months, during which time they painted together. By 1891, Gauguin renounced urban values and traveled, hoping to experience a culture and place unmarred by Western ideals and priorities; these travels inspired a bold, new style in his artwork.

Known for his innovative use of color, Gauguin often used different hues to convey emotion, rather than represent nature as it really existed. One of his best known works from the 1890s, Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (1897), features groups of Tahitian figures in a colorful, outdoor setting. Meant to be read from right to left, the symbols and imagery represent the stages of life and afterlife. Having a significant influence on the trajectory of Modern Art, his works are included in the collections of the Musée d''Orsay in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, among many others.

Timeline

1848
Born: June 7, Paris, France
1851–1855
Lived in Lima, Peru
1865–1871
Served in the merchant marine and traveled the tropics
1874
Began to paint as a hobby
1884
Moved with his family to Copenhagen, Denmark, to pursue business
1885
Separated from his wife and children, returned to Paris to paint full-time
1887
Traveled with Charles Laval to Panama and Martinique
1891
Traveled to Tahiti
1899
Founded his own journal, Le Sourire
1901
Moved to the Marquesas Islands
1903
Died: May 8, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

Exhibitions

2005
April 8 - June 19, "Special Installation: Prints by Paul Gauguin", The Clark
2002
June 18 - Oct. 20, "Gauguin in New York Collections: The Lure of the Exotic", Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
1955
Sept. 30 - Oct. 26, "Paul Gauguin", Tate Britain
1906
Retrospective. Salon d'Automne. Paris, France.
1889
Group exhibition: Paul Gauguin, Emile Bernard and Paul Sérusier; Café Volpini. Paris, France
1879–1886
Impressionist Exhibitions; Paris, France.