Paul GauguinBorn: June 7, 1848Paris, FranceDied: May 8, 1903Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia French artist, painter, and sculptorThe French painter and sculptor Paul Gauguin sought exotic environments, first in France and later in Tahiti. He frequently combined the people and objects in his paintings in novel ways, bringing to mind a mysterious, personal world in the process.
Next he attended a seminary (a school for religious studies). At the age of seventeen he enlisted in the merchant marine (people who work on commercial ships). In 1870 Gauguin began a career as a stockbroker (a person who buys and sells shares of companies) and remained in this profession for twelve years. He married a Danish girl, Mette Sophia Gad, and seemed destined for a comfortable middle-class existence.
The impressionists were a group of painters who concentrated on the general impression produced by a scene or object. They used unmixed primary colors and small strokes to simulate actual reflected light. As time went on, Gauguin's desire to paint became ever stronger.
In 1886, with Clovis enrolled in a boarding school, Gauguin lived for a few months in the village of Pont-Aven in the Brittany region of northwestern France. He then left for the island of Martinique, first stopping to work as a laborer on the Panama Canal. He returned to Pont-Aven in February 1888 and gathered about him a group of painters.
Gauguin preached and practiced a style he called synthetism, which involved pure color patterns, strong, expressive outlines, and flat planes. The painters admired the local people for their simple lives and deep religious faith. They felt these qualities reflected a truth about humanity's basic nature, which was not reflected in the sophisticated world of Paris.