Born in Paris in 1848, Paul Gauguin was the son of a journalist and the grandson of Flora Tristan, a founder of modern feminism. Gauguin and his family moved to Peru early in his life and the culture and imagery he witnessed there shaped his style and approach to the artistic process for the rest of his working career.
Although one of the more well known artists of his time, Gauguin picked up painting while working as a stockbroker and only committed to it as a profession when his marriage of 11 years dissolved and he returned to Paris in 1885.
Much like his friend and fellow artist, Vincent van Gogh, Gauguin struggled with depression and had attempted suicide at one time. In fact, Gauguin was in attendance to the infamous December 23rd incident in which van Gogh had cut off his own earlobe with a razor blade. Gauguin claims to have been approached by the unstable van Gogh earlier that evening with the very same blade. The two never saw each other again, but kept in touch and on relatively good terms.
The two prints in our collection display the generally flat and loose style that is very indicative of the Pre-Columbian art Gauguin was influenced by, not only in his early home of Peru, but also by his six month stint in the French Caribbean. The figures and setting of these pieces conveys little drama, but insinuates subtle emotion through use of line and pattern. Note the serene and almost curious facial expressions exhibited by each of the women in these prints, meanwhile the textural and spatial environments defy traditional perspective and convey abstract setting for these seemingly delicate portraits.