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Gauguin, 1848-1903. by Gauguin, Paul

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By Gauguin, Paul

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Blue Trees 1888 oil on canvas, 92 x 73 cm Ordrupgaardsamlingen, Copenhagen 40 It is very likely that these early impressions determined the subsequent development of Gauguin’s artistic tastes and ideals. His return to France put an end to Paul’s happy and carefree life. At school in Orleans and later at a Lycée in Paris the dream of tropical countries and the sea never left Gauguin. Bretons and Calf 1888 oil on canvas, 91 x 72 cm Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen 42 At fifteen he found employment as a cabinboy on a merchant ship and sailed to the South American coast, almost retracing the route of his first voyage overseas.

His life and work present many contradictions, though often only outward ones. His life was naturally integrated with his creative activity, while the latter in its turn embodied his ideals and views on life. But this organic unity of life and work was maintained through a never-ending dramatic struggle. The Four Breton Girls 1886 oil on canvas, 72 x 91 cm Neue Pinakothek, Munich 32 33 It was the struggle for the right to become an artist, the struggle for existence, the struggle against public opinion, against his family and friends who failed to understand him, and finally, it was his inner struggle for the preservation of his identity, his own creative and human self.

At school in Orleans and later at a Lycée in Paris the dream of tropical countries and the sea never left Gauguin. Bretons and Calf 1888 oil on canvas, 91 x 72 cm Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen 42 At fifteen he found employment as a cabinboy on a merchant ship and sailed to the South American coast, almost retracing the route of his first voyage overseas. But this romantic start was followed by an abrupt and unwelcome change: the Franco-Prussian war broke out, the merchant ship on which Gauguin served was requisitioned, and instead of the tropics he found himself in the north, near the Norwegian and Danish coasts.

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