Paul Gauguin (June 7, 1848-May 8, 1903) came to art late in life under the influence of the painters Camille Pissarro and Paul Cézanne. Beginning his career as a stock broker, Gauguin developed a strong interest in art, and following the market crash of 1882, decided to dedicate his life to painting. A champion of the cloisonnist style, Gauguin’s strong, constructive brushstrokes embolden his colorful paintings. After spending the early years of his career in Brittany and Arles with his contemporary, Vincent, van Gogh, Gauguin struck out into the world, travelling to Martinique, Panama, and Tahiti. Over the course of his two trips to Tahiti, he was inspired by what he called the “savage” surroundings, and pioneered the French Symbolist and Primativist movements. His many allegorical paintings and portraits of women evoke the erotic, mysterious aura that Tahiti held for him. Gauguin’s synthesis of Western traditions and “exotic” subject matter paved the way for the Fauvists and Expressionists that followed in his wake.
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