1 year ago
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Speaking of painting, and painters, I’ve always been fascinated by the life of Paul Gauguin.
An interesting story.
Picture a stockbroker, actually rather successful, who for years lived a conventional, fairly stuffy middle-class life. In his spare time he became a self-taught amateur artist – and he painted conventional pictures.
It was in the 1880s that he decided to pack it all in so that he could paint full time.
I’ve been to Arles in the south of France, where Gauguin spent nine weeks painting with his friend Vincent van Gogh, and I’ve visited the island of Martinique, where he hoped to find an idyllic landscape. Above, his self-portrait.
But it was in 1891 that he decided to sail to French Polynesia to escape European civilization and "everything that is artificial and conventional".
His rejection of European urban values led him to Tahiti, where he found – some say he created -- an unspoiled culture, exotic and sensual.
Gauguin's greatest innovation was his use of color, which he used not for its ability to mimic nature but for its emotional impact.
The first artist to systematically use the effects of the art movement known as Primitivism and achieve broad public success was Paul Gauguin.