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Paul Gauguin (1848 - 1903)





1848 On 7 June Eugene Henri Paul Gauguin is born in Paris, the son of Glovis Gauguin, a Republican editor, and his wife Aline Marie Chazal.

1849 After Lois Napoleon comes to power, the family emigrate to Peru. Gauguin’s father dies on the way. The mother and children stay with relatives in Lima.

1855 Return to Uncle Isidore’s in Orleans.

1859 Paul goes to the Petit Seminaire, a boarding grammar school on Orleans, where he receives his schooling until 1865.

1862 Return to Paris.

1865 Paul goes to sea as a ship’s boy on the Luzitano, voyaging between Le Havre and Rio de Janeiro.

1866 Thirteen-month voyage round the world as  second lieutenant on the Chili. Death of his mother.

1868 Joins the navy.

1871 Able-bodied seaman aboard a corvette, the Jerome Napoleon, during the Franco-Prussian War. After the war Gauguin works as a broker’s agent at Bertin’s in Paris, and meets Claude-Emile Schuffenecker. First drawings.

1872 Gauguin and Schuffenecker study painting and visit the Louvre together.

1873 22 November: Gauguin marries  a Danish governess, Mette Sophie Gad.

1874 Visits Pissarro and meets other Impressionists, and collects their paintings. Studies painting at the Colarossi Academy. Son Emil born.

1876 Daughter Aline born. Exhibits at the Salon for the first time.

1879 Son Clovis born. Spends summer painting with Pissarro in Pontoise. His bank and stock exchange deals provide a comfortable income and he continues to buy paintings. Exhibits  at the fourth Impressionist show.

1880 Rents a studio in the Vaugirard quarter. Exhibits with the Impressionists and the Independents.

1881 Painting with Pissarro and Cezanne. Son Jean Rene born.

1882 Exhibits at the seventh Impressionist show.

1883 Quits his stock exchange job. Break with Cezanne. Spends the summer painting with Pissarro in Osny. Birth of fifth child, Pola.

1884 Moves to Rouen, but then in October financial straits force him to move to Mette’s in Copenhagen. Unsuccessful attempt to be a sailcloth salesman.

1885 Exhibition in Copenhagen is a failure. Falls out with his in-laws and return to Paris, taking Clovis. Mette stays in Denmark with the children.

1886 Working as a bill-poster. Puts Clovis in a pension and goes to Pont-Aven in Brittany, where he meets Bernard. Again in Paris he meets Theo and Vincent van Gogh, and Degas. Dreams of travelling to the tropics.

1887 Mette visits him in Paris. In April he and fellow-painter Laval travel to Panama and then Martinique. Both fall ill. Back in Paris he moves with the Schuffeneckers. Theo  van Gogh buys some pictures and ceramic works.

1888 February to October in Pont-Aven with Bernard, Laval and Meyer de Haan.  Break with Impressionism. With Bernard he founds “synthetic Symbolism”. Solo exhibition at Theo van Gogh’s Gallery. Late autumn with Vincent van Gogh in Arles. Following their misunderstanding he returns to the Schuffeneckers in Paris.

1889 Exhibits twelve paintings with Les Vingt in Brussels. Schuffenecker arranges a show at the Café Volpini. In Pont-Aven again, and Le Pouldu. Influences young painters such as Serusier, Denis and Bonnard.

1890 In Paris until June. Plans to emigrate. Second stay in Le Pouldu. Acquaintance with the café Voltaire Symbolists: Monfreid, Redon, Mallarme. Organizes an auction of his paintings to finance his emigration.

1891 Sells thirty paintings at the Hotel Drouot for 9860 francs. Quarrel with Bernard. Bids farewell to his family in Copenhagen and friends to Paris and on 4 April takes ship to Tahiti, where he arrives on 28 June. Starts on his autobiographical Noa Noa.

1892 Serious illness. He is nevertheless productive and sends seven paintings to Paris.

1893 Eye disease, loneliness and financial distress oblige him to return to Paris early. Uncle Isidor’s legacy alleviates his situation. Rents  studio in Rue Vercingetorix. Living with Anna the Javanese.

1894 Farewell visit to Copenhagen. April to December with Anna in Brittany. Breaks his ankle in a brawl with sailors.

1895 Second, unsuccessful auction at the hotel Drouot. 3 April takes ship for Tahiti a second time.

1896 Builds himself a live-in studio at Punaania. Plagued by illness, depression and financial worries, but still paints numerous masterpieces.

1897 Aline dies. Definitive break with Mette. Serious illness: Gauguin’s health has been ruined by alcohol and syphilis. Noa Noa published.

1898 Attempts suicide. Hospitalized in Papeete. Takes a job in Paofai until money arrives from Monfreid in Paris.

1899 Editing two satirical journals. His lover Pau’ura gives birth to a son, Emile.

1900 Vollard, a Parisian dealer, offers Gauguin a contract and buys pictures. Improvement in his financial position but again hospitalized. Son Clovis dies.

1901 In the autumn, sells his Tahiti house and moves to Atuana on the island of Dominique in the Marquesas. Builds his “House of Pleasure” on Catholic mission land.

1902 Quarrels with the church and colonial administration in Atuana. Heart disease and syphilis set him longing for home. Monfreid advises against returning since it would destroy the myth of the South Seas painter.

1903 The refractory Gauguin is sentenced to three month in prison and fined 1000 francs. He has neither the energy nor the money to defend himself. He dies on 8 May, aged 54, at his home in Atuana.


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