Paul Gauguin [1848–1903]

Self Portrait
Painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramist, and writer

Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin

was born,
June 7, 1848,
in Paris, France

A Post-Impressionist artist, unappreciated during his life, he is now considered an important figure in the Symbolist art movement of the early 1900s. He pioneered the Symbolist art movement in France and set the stage for Fauvism and Expressionism.
His work was influential to the French avant-garde and many modern artists, such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Gauguin’s art became popular after his death, partially from the efforts of art dealer Ambroise Vollard, who organized exhibitions of his work late in his career and assisted in organizing two important posthumous exhibitions in Paris. His expression of the inherent meaning of the subjects in his paintings, under the influence of the cloisonnist style, paved the way to Primitivism and the return to the pastoral. He was also an influential proponent of wood engraving and woodcuts as art forms.
(From Wikipedia)

So here’s a glimpse of his work
[believe me, I actually left out many paintings!]
Cavaliers sur la Plage [II] (Riders on the Beach)

“I shut my eyes in order to see.”

Contes barbares (Primitive Tales)

“Color which, like music, is a matter of vibrations, reaches what is most general and therefore most indefinable in nature: its inner power.”

Garden in Vaugirard (Painter’s Family in the Garden in Rue Carcel)

“Painting is the most beautiful of all arts. In it, all sensations are condensed, at its aspect everyone may create romance at the will of his imagination, and at a glance have his soul invaded by the most profound memories, no efforts of memory, everything summed up in one moment. Complete art which sums up all the others and completes them. Like music, it acts on the soul through the intermediary of the senses, the harmonious tones corresponding to the harmonies of sounds, but in painting, a unity is obtained which is not possible in music, where the accords follow one another, and the judgement experiences a continuous fatigue if one wants to reunite the end and the beginning. In the main, the ear is an inferior sense to the eye. The hearing can only grasp a single sound at one time, whereas the sight takes in everything and at the same time simplifies at its will.”

Jeune fille à l’éventail (Young Girl with a Fan)

“It is so small a thing, the life of a man, and yet there is time to do great things, fragments of a common task.”

Huttes sous les arbres

“Don’t over finish your work. There is value to done.”

Le Sorcier d’Hiva Oa (Marquesan Man in a Red Cape)

“Absinthe is the only decent drink that suits an artist.”

Les Alyscamps

“I find everything poetic, and it’s in the corners of my heart which are sometimes mysterious that I catch a glimpse of poetry… I feel a sensation that leads me into a poetic state…”

Nave nave moe (Sacred spring, sweet dreams)

“The self-esteem one acquires and a well-earned feeling of one’s strength are the only consolation in this world. Income, after all, most brutes have that.”

Night Café at Arles, (Mme Ginoux)

“…freely and madly; you will make progress.. .Above all, don’t sweat over a painting; a great sentiment can be rendered immediately..”

Parahi te maras

“Don’t copy nature too closely. Art is an abstraction; as you dream amide nature, extrapolate art from it and concentrate on what you will create as a result. “

Portrait of Madame Gauguin

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

Riders on the Beach

“I borrow some subject or other from life or from nature, and, using it as a pretext, I arrange lines and colors so as to obtain symphonies, harmonies that do not represent a thing that is real, in the vulgar sense of the word, and do not directly express any idea, but are supposed to make you think the way music is supposed to make you think, unaided by ideas or images, simply through the mysterious affinities that exist between our brains and such arrangements of colors and lines.”

Te aa no areois (The Seed of the Areoi)

“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. “

The Artist’s Mother

“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?”

The Swineherd, Brittany

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

The Yellow Christ (Le Christ jaune)

“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. “

Tahitian Women on the Beach

“I do not paint by copying nature. Everything I do springs from my wild imagination.”

The Moon and the Earth (Hina tefatou)

“I am leaving in order to have peace and quiet, to be rid of the influence of civilization. I want only to do simple, very simple art, and to be able to do that, I have to immerse myself in virgin nature, see no one but savages, live their life, with no other thought in mind but to render, the way a child would, the concepts formed in my brain and to do this with the aid of nothing but the primitive means of art, the only means that are good and true. “

Vision After the Sermon

“In art, there are only two types of people: revolutionaries and plagiarists. And in the end, doesn’t the revolutionary’s work become official, once the State takes it over? “

Vahine no te tiare (Woman with a Flower)

“In order to produce something new, you have to return to the original source, to the childhood of mankind. “

Landscape with a Pig and a Horse (Hiva Oa)

“My eyes close and uncomprehendingly see the dream in the infinite space that stretches away, elusive, before me.”

Tahitian Woman with Evil Spirit, traced monotype

“No one wants my painting because it is different from other people’s — peculiar, crazy public that demands the greatest possible degree of originality on the painter’s part and yet won’t accept him unless his work resembles that of the others! “

Still Life with Profile of Laval (Charles Laval)

“..color being enigmatic in itself.. ..then to be logical we cannot use it any other way than enigmatically.. “

Bord de Mer II

“At the age of ten, twenty, a hundred, very young, a little older, and very old, an artist is always an artist. Isn’t he better at some times, some moments, than at others? Never impeccable, since he is a living, human being?”

Bord de Mer II

“I am a great artist and I know it. It’s because of what I am that I have endured so much suffering, so as to pursue my vocation, otherwise I would consider myself a rogue — which is what many people think I am, for that matter. Oh well, what difference does it make. What upsets me the most is not so much the poverty as the things that perpetually get in the way of my art, which I cannot carry out the way I feel and which I would carry out if it weren’t for the poverty that is like a straitjacket. You tell me I am wrong to stay away from the artist[ic] center. No, I am right; I’ve known for a long time what I am doing and why I am doing it. My artistic center is in my brain and nowhere else, and I am strong because I am never thrown off-course by other people and because I do what is in me. “

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

Gauguin by Gauguin [self portraits]

Gauguin sculptures – carvings


I’ve chosen two pieces by the English composer Frederick Delius, with whom Gauguin had met in paris, 1894. When Delius purchased Nevermore from Daniel de Monfreid, Gauguin wrote to Monfreid:

“You did well to let Delius have the picture Nevermore. You remember that you reproached me for having given a title to the picture. Don’t you think that the title ‘Nevermore’ was the cause of the purchase, perhaps?”

O Taiti (Nevermore)

Frederick Delius [1862–1934]

In a Summer Garden

Frankfurt Radio Symphony • Conducted by Sir Andrew Davis

A Song of Summer

London Symphony Orchestra • Conducted by John Barbirolli • 1967

For more information on Gauguin:


Be Safe 🏡

45 replies »

  1. I liked this from Art Gowns before, and now I get to like it from GLAM.
    A wonderful tribute to a great talent. Poverty is an unfortunate by product of many artists and musicians.
    Thank you for these looks at artists and their work!

  2. I’ve never seen his sculptures before so thank you for opening my eyes! Also I love the way you mixed together the locations of his paintings and for showing the breadth of his work (latter years dominating my view of Gauguin)

  3. I’m familiar with some of Gauguin’s paintings. I enjoyed seeing a wider range of work, as well as the quotes, particuarly the ones about color.

  4. What a beautiful choice of paintings, Marina. I especially love this landscapes and the movement in his strokes as he paints nature. Beautiful images of island people as well. And I didn’t even know that he sculpted. Your choice of quotes was mesmerizing. Thanks for the immersive dive into this artist’s world.

  5. Great music! I enjoyed it to some wonderful posts with lots of images (Equinoxo) including the one Holly just reblogged!

  6. Amazing post, Marina. He was such a unique talent.
    The quotes were as interesting as the paintings, in their own way.
    I wonder what he thought of photography. It’s interesting to see the photos, and his self portraits. I keep scrolling between the 2.
    I like to think I’m an artist. However, I’ll have to settle for being a red wine artist… absinthe is scary to me.
    Thank you for this lovely piece of education.
    (I forgot to scroll to see if you added music, so have enjoyed this post to Tomaso Albinoni. LOL
    Now, I’ll enjoy your music while I answer comments… or visit some other blogs.
    Love this!!

    • He really was an amazing and very unique talent.
      IKR… red wine or sometimes an extra dry martini and not absinthe here too! 😉
      So happy I provided some happy moments!
      Hey, Friday is here!
      Have a lovely weekend!

        • Me too!!!!!! …and it’s housework weekend! 😉 🙄🛡 [hey, I just realized there is no broom or any symbol resembling cleaning in emoji… is it banned for some reason or offensive to be cleaning?! 😉 ]

  7. What a wonderful walk through his work and his quotes. Inspiring. We saw an exhibition of his work in San Francisco a couple of years ago and didn’t want to leave.

  8. One of my favorites, Marina…genius and therefore controversial in so many ways. He’s one of several artists for whom I often have to separate their personal life from their work. Thanks for putting so many pieces in one place for us 🙂 xoxo

    • I know what you mean… eventhough it’s interesting learning various trivia about an artists life, I will rarely look for their biography. I realize I’ve added too many paintings but I really had a hard time choosing and was sad I had to leave out all the ones I did! So glad you enjoyed it, my dear Mary Jo! Have a beautiful week ahead! 🙏😊😘

  9. Breathtaking…and beyond, as in to die for, which sadly he suffered to do so of illness acquired in Tahiti…! Thank you for another reminder, of great and magnificent paintings, this time of Gauguin’s.

    • Oh, I’m very happy to hear that, Robert! To be honest this is half of the paintings I wanted to add… but it was getting a bit too much! 😉
      Best regards to you too! 🙂

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