Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Jekyll Island Beach 2012
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

G is for Gauguin





The Rogue Speaks:

Well,of course! I started Rogue Artists as a art blog, so naturally I would write about artists! Welcome to Alphabe-Thursday, Jenny Matlock's brain-child that brings all manner of bloggers out on Thursdays to enlighten, amuse, tickle, and pull on our heartstrings. In the few weeks I have been participating, I have become acquainted with so many interesting people! If you haven't participated, you should!!

I had the most wonderful art teacher when I was very young! I went to her house several afternoons a week, and while we were painting or drawing or working with clay, our teacher would read to us about famous artists. She had their paintings on the walls of our classroom, so we could learn to associate the person with their art.

I remember Gauguin, a leading French Post-impressionist, because his paintings were so colorful. He had only been dead 47 years, so it made him a mere youngster in the world of art. He boldly experimented with color in his paintings, and was a sculptor as well. He also experimented with printmaking, ceramics, and woodcuts.

Gauguin, born in Paris in 1848, spent the first four years of his life in Lima, Peru. His father had died on the trip over, and Gauguin and his sister and mother, who was part Peruvian, lived with an Uncle. Paul's art would later be influenced by images of Peru.

Gauguin joined the French navy when he was 20 in order to fulfill his military service. In 1871, he returned to Paris and went to work as a stock broker. It was there he met his wife, who bore him five children. In 1884, Gauguin moved his family to Copenhagen. He had been painting in his spare time for quite a while, but wanted to paint full-time, so in 1885 he packed up and left his family to go back to Paris and paint. He just upped and left! His poor wife had nothing to subsist on, so she was forced to take her children and move in with her family!!

In 1888, Gauguin decided to visit his friend Vincent Van Gogh, in Arles. He spent nine weeks there, painting with Van Gogh. How they ever lasted nine weeks together is beyond me! Both men suffered from severe depression, and Van Gogh was a little psychotic from eating lead-based paint. At one point, the two got into a shouting match and Van Gogh went at Gauguin with a razor blade! Van Gogh freaked out when he realized what he was doing, and he ran out. He went to a brothel, and while he was there, he cut off part of his earlobe. He wrapped it in tissue paper and gave it to a prostitute by the name of Rachael. He told Rachael to take care of it for some unknown reason.

Gauguin packed his bags and left, afraid that Van Gogh might come back and kill him. The two never saw each other again. Van Gogh was later hospitalized, and eventually died.

In 1891, Gauguin found himself destitute. He was frustrated that he had not become rich and famous with his art, so he decided to move to the tropics to escape capitalism in Europe. He decided to live the simple life and subsist on fish and fruit! He went first to Panama, where he got a job as a laborer, working on the Panama Canal. He only lasted three weeks before they fired him! After that fiasco, he went to the island of Martinique, and tried living in a hut. The weather was bloody hot and humid, and he got dysentery, probably from the fish and fruit. Then he came down with marsh fever. He managed to complete around 12 paintings before he decided to call it quits and find another island to on which to live.

He went to Tahiti, and then to Punaauia. He finally ended up on the Marquesas Islands. He lived there for the rest of his life, painting and fraternizing with the natives, particularly the women.

Gauguin never could learn to keep his mouth shut. He ended up pissing off the local church and government, so they sentenced him to three months in prison. Fortunately, though, he died before he could serve his sentence. All the years of visiting brothels, and excessive drinking, and eating unwashed fruit had really wrecked his body! It didn't help that he was also extremely depressed and angry that people didn't see him as an artistic genius. He was only 54 when he died.

Wouldn't you know it??? After he died, his paintings became popular!! I hope his heirs got some of the money from the sale of his work! Today, a Gauguin painting sells for around $40,000,000, if you can find one, that is!!

39 comments:

JDaniel4's Mom said...

It is a shame he didn't see the fame he would gain later.

lissa said...

more than I need to know about Gauguin but then again I favor Van Gogh's work more. still it's interesting to know how some artist just cannot get famous until after their death but we get to treasure their work which is a great thing

have a sweet day

Marlee said...

As a lover of color, I appreciate the work of Gaugin. I especially like the one with the sunflower in the blue vase.

Angelia Sims Hardy said...

I just love to hear you tell stories. How crazy was that episode with Van Gogh!

I tried to comment last week on the love story, but the computer ate it and I didn't have time to redo it. I enjoy stories of the God's. They just fascinate me.

So does art, but I don't know a whole lot about it, that is why I am glad I met you!

:-)

Angelia Sims Hardy said...

oops I meant on the Faust post. :-)

CollectIn Texas Gal said...

Thanks, Judie for the Rogues View of Paul Gauguin...it was as colorful as his paintings and certainly worthy of the Letter G. Now we know why his paintings are mostly in museums...$$$ GoodGrief he sure could have bought a lot of paint, canvas, booze and antibiotics...if he'd only known!

Teresa said...

This is fascinating. It's amazing how some people were so brilliant and bloody crazy.

askcherlock said...

I adore Gauguin. The photos of his paintings you have here are too beautiful for words. The softness of the colors and the way he captured scenes are magnificent. So many artists do not live to see their work appreciated. His legacy of art is a true gift.

Rich's Great Grandfather, also an artist, was a patron to Van Gogh. He gave him money as Van Gogh needed it, and in return Van Gogh gave him paintings and sketches. What an amazing trade-off. Rich's Great Grandfather's paintings are now in The Haag. This is a link to him which may be of some interest:
http://www.artlistings.com/artists/d/164/david-artz/

Tracy said...

It is so sad that these great Artist gave everything recived very little in return and yet their work now commands such high prices fab post thank you. Cant wait to see whats next week

The Guy's Perspective said...

Interesting story. I love to learn about the man or woman behind the work. Of course now that I know he bailed on his family I wouldn't want to own any of his work. Well, okay fine, for 40 million I might make an exception.
Hope you're doing well.

Jo-Ann Sanborn said...

I took my then six year old granddaughter to see a Gauguin exhibition at the Boston Museum. I blabbed on about color, the beautiful tropical settings, etc. she said very little, but when we finished with Gaugain and went to see Monet, her comment was "well, at least these people have their clothes on!" Gauguin is still a favorite. Thanks, Judy!

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

Yes, I hope his wife and kids got something after the way he quickly exited their lives. He sure moved around a lot. Very interesting biography. It sounds like you had a very good art teacher. I like the way she read to you about artists while you worked.

marisworld said...

Fabulous post as always but why the ear lobe?? I just don't get it. Maybe he didn't cut it off but Rachael bit it off in lust and made the story up? ..you never know

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Gauguin is one of my very favorite artists..Loved the post!

Sue said...

Isn't that how it goes with so many artists? No recognition until after they are dead.

A very interesting story. Thanks for telling it.

=)

nothingprofound said...

Gauguin is one of my wife's favorites, and I love his paintings, too. Such a savage. He said: Civilization is what makes you sick." I tend to agree, that and not enough chocolate. He was also a wonderful writer, and his Tahitian journal makes great reading. There's an excellent movie, "The Wolf At The Door" about him. Mostly about his pre-Tahiti days, starring Donald Sutherland.

Sarah said...

Um, I would like to buy a painting from you..do you have one for sale?

Cheryl D. said...

What an informative post! I love Gauguin's art, but I knew nothing about him, other then he lived in Tahiti.

Thanks for increasing my knowledge!

Nora Johnson said...

I adore Gauguin - and this post! So informative!

XOXO Lola & Nora:)

Jo said...

hmmm .... tongue in cheek thinking ... baby daddy drama and some form of mental illness, and/or possible suicide attempt seems such a common theme amongst brilliant artists ... or is that just me ... anyways, loved the post ... i appreciate the knowledge gained ... and speaking of art, i am in love with Point in Time by Rebecca Bushner on the right sidebar

Sarah said...

By 40mil you meant in peso right? :) I like several of them. Hmm, this will be hard...

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Wonderful post! Gauguin lead a fascinating albeit self destructive life. I would have loved to see those encounters between him and Van Gogh..lol!

ChrisJ said...

Great post. Gaugin was the best choice for "G."

I always think of Van Gogh and Gaugin trading ears, but don't know why.

His art is wonderful, but he was an a..hole to his family!

Gattina said...

Van Gogh and Gauguin are my favorite painters. I have seen their paintings in London and Amsterdam. Unfortunately the colors are not so vivid anymore after all this time.
He was not as poor as van Gogh, worked in an exchange company was married and had 5 children ! He was able to buy paintings from Pissarro, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Guillaumin, Cassatt, Degas et C├ęzanne and joined the impressionists in 1874. He helped for a while van Gogh. In 1895 he moved definitively to the Marquises islands where he got in troubles with the local government. He died in 1903 of a heart attack after having absorbed too much morphine. The drinker was more van Gogh.
I learned all this in art school, lol !

Sarah said...

Judie--I am serious, but I have a couple of problems. First I need to get this moving my mom thing over with. Then I have to decide on one. That will be the hardest as I love several of them, but only have so many dollar bills! :)

Christy said...

When I homeschooled my kids we studied him and his paintings. I guess I didn't know the whole story of his life - I am sure the children's book we read from didn't talk about his boozing, prostitution, deadbeat dad days! I like his painting though! Such and interesting post!

Jenny said...

Thanks for the sweet words about AT.

Doesn't it seem that so many amazing artists lead horrible lives while creating astonishing art?

At a seminar I went to at a holistic rehab facility they discussed this and talked about self-medication through extremes while still being driven by the muses to great heights.

I didn't know much of this story, sound I found this quite fascinating.

And, like Tony the Tiger says...

This was a GGGGGGGreat link to Alphabe-Thursday!

Thank you for linking.

A+

fredamans said...

An amazing and fascinating painter. Great choice!

•••Mumsy••• said...

The life of an artist is always fascinating to know! His paintings are very colorful, and fabulous..Thanks for a great read!

Wysteria said...

Great write and I love the pics. I also do Art.. Surely, not as good as these. Enjoying the tour

Wysteria

Theresa said...

What a great post! So interesting reading about the life of Gauguin...I've always loved his work. So enjoying your artsy blog and that gorgeous tan you're sporting:)

Pondside said...

That was very interesting - glad that I found your art blog because I am so non-artsy but still, an artsy wannabe!

nimaruichi said...

The paintings are lovely, the info interesting.
There is a book - The Moon and Sixpence - by Somerset Maugham based on Gauguin’s life.

paige said...

I always love your stories. :)

Ginny said...

Had a lovely visit today reading about Gauguin and listening to Bali Hai and other tunes.

Judie said...

Thanks, Ginny! I'm glad you enjoy my music!!

Judie said...

Angelia, thanks for your comment. I am afraid I am way too scattered right now to answer promptly!!

Judie said...

Hopefully, next week I will be able to get my act together and enter a proper post!! I am just too sad right now to put something together. Stay with me. I will get over this!!

ChristiS said...

Wow!! How interesting! I've always wanted to learn more about artists, so thanks for educating me!
I'm late getting caught up on my g posts, but better late than never! :)