On this day in 1848, the great painter Paul Gauguin was born. As a human being, he was troubled. It isn’t surprising that he was close to Vincent van Gogh. So I think we can look past the fact that he lived a questionable life, most especially in Tahiti. But let me just yield the point that Gauguin was probably a horrible human being. Now we can get onto his art.
It is interesting to compare Gauguin with van Gogh. This goes back to something I talk about a lot: the eclectic and non-eclectic artists. There are great artists who have a singular vision that they do variations on. It seems that van Gogh could only paint in that one way that he did. And as an expression of himself, there is great value in his work. But really, a little van Gogh goes a long way. Gauguin was of the eclectic variety of artist. He did amazingly varied work, which should put an end to any thought that his primitive period was anything but exactly what he was trying to do.
Here is his painting from 1879, The Market Gardens of Vaugirard, which strikes me as rather like Pissarro:
And then here is his painting from 1903, Landscape on La Dominique, which strikes me as rather like no one else:
Happy birthday Paul Gauguin!