Paul Gauguin: An Amazing Life

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Did you know€¦

Paul Gauguin (The years 1887-1903) The Paintings of Paul Gauguin €" Bretagne, Martinique, Tahiti and the Marquesas Edited by Michael Schemmann.

In 1883, Paul Gauguin, who was a well-to-do Paris stock broker, quit the stock exchange to paint fulltime; financial troubles weren't long in waiting.

In 1885, Gauguin left his family in Copenhagen with his parents-in-law, and returned to Paris, went to Martinique, Tahiti and after 5 years of hardship to the Island of Hiva €Oa in the Marquesas where he died in 1903, age 52. Hiva €Oa is the island that contains the largest and most fertile valleys and gorgeous scenery, mountains in the interior with low carpets of ferns, and deep, narrow coastal valleys.

Gauguin built a kind of house the natives had never seen before: Wood and plaited bamboos, it had two floors: upstairs a bedroom decorated with nudes and a large studio with six windows; the lower floor kitchen, dining and storage rooms. Over the entrance Gauguin had nailed a board with the inscription Maison du Jour.

Gauguin's free intercourse with native women, as was natural in the culture, especially angered the Catholic bishop, but Gauguin did not worry: €The women here don't beat about the bush€¦ An orange and a glance are enough. Oranges cost between a franc and two francs each, so there is really no reason to save on them,€ he said.

Soon after his arrival on Hiva €Oa, Gauguin, began to live with a girl of fourteen, Marie Rose Vaehoho, whom he persuaded her parents to take away from the mission school where she was a pupil. The girl accepted a sewing machine and 33 yards of cloth as Gauguin's wedding present, showing that it was not entirely unselfish love that induced the girl to se up house with a pointer of fifty-three. The bishop was indignant, but Gauguin paid no attention, remarking €The bishop's a rabbit and I'm an old cock, pretty tough and pretty hoarse. I say that the rabbit began it, that's the truth. It's a bit much to make me take vows of chastity€¦€

Paul Gauguin is buried in the Calvary Cemetery at Atuona on Hiva €Oa in the Marquesas Islands. Gauguin's paintings are rarely offered for sale; their price may be as high as $39.2 million.


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