French Artists

French Artists
  • Paul Cézanne
  • Gustave Courbet
  • Jacques-Louis David
  • Edgar Degas
  • Eugène Delacroix
  • Paul Gauguin
  • Claude Monet
  • Auguste Renoir
  • Nicolas Poussin
  • Henri Matisse
  • Antoine Watteau
  • Jean-François Millet
  • Charles Le Brun
  • Jean Fouquet

Paul Gauguin (1848 - 1903)

Paul Gauguin was a leading French post-impressionist painter, born in Paris on July 7, 1848. His father being a liberal journalist, the whole family had to emigrate to Peru when Paul was four years of age to avoid the coup d'etat by Napoleon III. He spent his early childhood in Lima and later moved back to Orleans with his family, where he studied.

After completing his studies he sailed around the world for six years, first as part of the merchant marines and later as part of the French Navy. In 1870 he returned to France and took up a job as a stockbroker. He was successful at his day job, but during the weekends and on holidays he began his first attempts at painting with Pissaro and Cézanne. He moved his family to Copenhagen, Denmark in 1884 in order to further pursue his business career but he failed miserably and turned to painting full-time, eventually returning to Paris and leaving his wife and children behind.

Gauguin experienced several bouts of depression and even tried committing suicide once. He was frustrated at his lack of recognition and financially dire circumstances and finally decided to head for the tropics in Tahiti, in attempt to escape from European civilization. He stayed in this part of the world for most of the rest of his life.

His earlier work, influenced by folk art and Japanese prints developed into a style or manner referred to as Cloisonnism. Later, he incorporated many quasi-religious symbols into his work. Gauguin died in 1903 of syphilis, aged 54. His body had been weakened by alcohol and a dissipated life.

Gauguin has many paintings to his name. Here is a very short list of only a few of them:

  • Adam and Eve
  • Baby (The Nativity)
  • Tarari maruru (Landscape with Two Goats)
  • Man Picking Fruit from a Tree
  • The Meal (The Bananas)
  • Tahitian Women (on the Beach)
  • The Fisherwomen of Tahiti