Born: 07 June 1848; Paris, France
Died: 08 May 1903; Atuona, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia
Active Years: 1873 - 1903
Field: painting, sculpture, engraving
School or Group: Pont-Aven School
Paul Gaugin was a French Post-Impressionist painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramist, and write, and was an important figure in the Symbolist movement, and his experimentation was indicative of the Synthetist style of modern art. He also paved the way to the appreciation of primitivism, as his paintings employed many of the simplistic techniques employed by Naïve artists. He lived with his family as a child, and moved to Orleans’ France at the age of seven. As an adult, he joined the French Navy and later was employed as a stockbroker. In France, he began painting in his free time, and became friends Camille Pisarro, who introduced him to other artists.
As an individual he was prone to bouts of depression and once attempted suicide. As a painter, he was disappointed with Impressionism, as he felt that the tradition of European painting had simply become imitative, and lacked the symbolic depth that he desired. He also thoroughly enjoyed the art of Africa and Asia, which was full of symbolic depth, vigor, and meaning.