Paul Gauguin
Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (øˈʒɛn ãˈʁi ˌpol ɡoˈɡɛ̃; 7 June 1848 – 8 May 1903) was a leading French Post-Impressionist
Post-Impressionism is the term coined by the British artist and art critic Roger Fry in 1910 to describe the development of French art since Manet. Fry used the term when he organized the 1910 exhibition Manet and Post-Impressionism...

 artist. He was an important figure in the Symbolist
Symbolism (arts)
Symbolism was a late nineteenth-century art movement of French, Russian and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts. In literature, the style had its beginnings with the publication Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire...

 movement as a painter, sculptor, print-maker, ceramist, and writer. His bold experimentation with coloring led directly to the Synthetist
Synthetism is a term used by post-Impressionist artists like Paul Gauguin, Émile Bernard and Louis Anquetin to distinguish their work from Impressionism. Earlier, Synthetism has been connected to the term Cloisonnism, and later to Symbolism...

 style of modern art
Modern art
Modern art includes artistic works produced during the period extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s, and denotes the style and philosophy of the art produced during that era. The term is usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of...

 while his expression of the inherent meaning of the subjects in his paintings, under the influence of the cloisonnist style
Cloisonnism is a style of post-Impressionist painting with bold and flat forms separated by dark contours. The term was coined by critic Edouard Dujardin on occasion of the Salon des Indépendants, in March 1888. Artists Émile Bernard, Louis Anquetin, Paul Gauguin, Paul Sérusier, and others started...

, paved the way to Primitivism
Primitivism is a Western art movement that borrows visual forms from non-Western or prehistoric peoples, such as Paul Gauguin's inclusion of Tahitian motifs in paintings and ceramics...

 and the return to the pastoral
The adjective pastoral refers to the lifestyle of pastoralists, such as shepherds herding livestock around open areas of land according to seasons and the changing availability of water and pasturage. It also refers to a genre in literature, art or music that depicts such shepherd life in an...


With this painting, I tried to make everything breathe faith, quiet suffering, religious and primitive style and great nature with its scream.

Letter to Theo van Gogh (art dealer)|Theo van Gogh (1889-11-20)

Life at Papeete|Papeete soon became a burden.It was Europe, the Europe which I had thought to shake off — and that under the aggravating circumstances of colonial snobbism, and the imitation, grotesque even to the point of caricature, of our customs, fashions, vices, and absurdities of civilization.Was I to have made this far journey, only to find the very thing which I had fled?

Noa Noa (1893) [Dover, 1985, ISBN 0-486-24859-3], p. 2

D'où venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Où allons-nous?

Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?

Many people say that I don't know how to draw because I don't draw particular forms. When will they understand that execution, drawing and color (in other words, style) must be in harmony with the poem?

Letter to Charles Morice (July 1901), from French Paintings and Painters from the Fourteenth Century to Post-Impressionism, ed. Gerd Muesham [Frederick Ungar, 1970, ISBN 0-8044-6521-5], p. 551

Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge — and has to content oneself with dreaming.

Avant et Après (1903), from Paul Gauguin's Intimate Journals, trans. (1923) Van Wyck Brooks|Van Wyck Brooks [Dover, 1997, ISBN 0-486-29441-2], p. 2

I must confess that I too am a woman and that I am always prepared to applaud a woman who is more daring than I, and is equal to a man in fighting for freedom of behavior.

Le Sourire (Tahiti, August 1899), p. xxvii

A great sentiment can be rendered immediately. Dream on it and look for the simplest form in which you can express it.

Letter to Emile Schuffenecker|Emile Schuffenecker (Copenhagen, 1885-01-14), p. 5

Nature has mysterious infinities and imaginative power. It is always varying the productions it offers to us. The artist himself is one of nature's means.

"Joris-Karl Huysmans|Huysmans and Odilon Redon|Redon" (written 1889, published 1953), p. 39