Gauguin, Paul (1848-1903) By Atkin, Will
Paul Gauguin was a Parisian-born French artist who was for a time associated with the Neo-Impressionist and Symbolist movements in painting. Having turned to a career as an artist relatively late, after working as a stockbroker, he became a remarkable presence within the French avant-garde. His activities as an artist fall, broadly, into two professional phases. The first phase of Gauguin’s career is characterized by his work in France up until 1891. During this early part of his career, he became closely linked to the Neo-Impressionist circle and learned his technical practice from painters such as Camille Pissaro (1830–1903). Later on in this period, he famously became acquainted with Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) in a tumultuous and short-lived professional relationship. Towards the end of this phase of activity in France, he became involved with the Symbolist movement through his friendship with the poet Charles Morice (1860–1919). The second phase of Gauguin’s career is characterized by his activities in French Polynesia, where, from 1891 until his death in 1903, he sought to develop a primitivist approach to art based on Polynesian traditions. During this later period, he also produced a significant body of writing on art and his travels.