Paul Gauguin: A True Downshifter

A lot of artists that have had an immortal influence on art as we know today were not appreciated when they were alive. You might have heard of Vincent van Gogh, one of the most famous painters of all time, who only sold one painting in his lifetime and died in abject poverty. Another painting that was not appreciated in his lifetime and who is considered widely influential today is Paul Gauguin.

His full name was Eugene Henri Paul Gauguin, and he was a French postmodernist artist. In fact, Paul Gauguin shared a close relationship with Van Gogh. Paul Gauguin worked with a style that was called Synthetist. His work paved the way for other famous artists like Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. In this article, we talk about him, his paintings, his style of painting, and the influence he has had on the world of art and culture.

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Paul Gauguin: Influence

Paul Gauguin Influence

Paul Gauguin was one of the most influential painters of the post-impressionist period. Though he is not known as a painter throughout the world, Gauguin had a lot of different careers before he got into painting. He served in the army, in the navy, and then worked as a successful stockbroker before he got into painting.

Paul Gauguin is known for his painting style that depicted human beings in simplified forms. He did not focus a lot on their characters and features, but more on what they symbolize. Because of his displeasure with French art at his time, he often took extended trips to Tahiti, which affected his art a lot.

A lot of Paul Gauguin’s paintings depict Tahitian culture, with influences from all aspects of his life. Besides being an influential painter, Gauguin was also into sculpting, ceramics, printmaking, and writing.


Paul Gauguin painted several paintings in his lifetime, some of which are present in famous museums around the world like the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York. In the following sections, we discuss some of these paintings.

Two Tahitian Women

Paul Gauguin did not like how the paintings in France were being made. He thought that the art had become too formulaic, and this displeased him. For this reason, he moved to Tahiti in the 1890s. He was influenced by the culture and the people of Tahiti, and this shows in his paintings.

In this painting, you can see the distinct classic style of painting that symbolizes the purity and natural force that Gauguin craved when he moved away from France. In the painting, you can see two women from Tahiti in their natural and pure self. One of them is carrying mango blossoms on a plate, while the other one is carrying some flowers.

This is one of Gauguin’s most famous paintings. Hence, it is housed in the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York.

Ia Orana Maria Aka Hail Mary

When it comes to Paul Gauguin’s oil paintings in Tahiti, this is considered the first one, which gives it certain importance. An interesting thing to notice about this painting is that it is an iteration of the Virgin Mary in a biblical scene, but has a new twist to it because of his Tahitian influence.

In the painting, you see a woman holding a small child on her shoulder, who is depicted as Jesus. You can see two women worshipping the woman. Gauguin’s painting style incorporates several other objects in the foreground and background of the image.

You can see a bowl of fruits in the foreground of the painting. In the background of the painting, you can see trees and traces of the ocean. Because of the influence of this painting, it is currently housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Miraculous Source

This painting was created by Paul Gauguin after his return from Tahiti. He had a burst of artistic inspiration back home, but the influence of his time in Tahitian culture is still apparent in this painting. The bottom of the painting has the words Nava Nava Moe, which is the name Gauguin gave this painting.

In the foreground of the painting, you can see two women who are said to be the life choice between vice and virtue. The woman on the left has a halo on her head to represent virtue. The woman on the right looks at a mango in her hand, which represents greed and desire, and hence, vice. The women are also dressed very similarly, which shows that they are basically the same person.

The Bottom Line

There is no denying the incredible influence Paul Gauguin has had on the world of art as we know it today. His style of painting, known as Synthetist style, paved the wave for Primitivism and the return of pastoral art.

Paul Gauguin paintings are immortalized throughout the world today. However, if you’re an art connoisseur and would like to own a reproduction of his beautiful paintings, you can check out

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