Gauguin Fun Facts

Gauguin’s full name was Eugene Henri Paul Gauguin.  His father was French and his mother Spanish-Peruvian.

Before becoming an artist, Gauguin was a sailor and then a stockbroker.  

It wasn’t until the age of 35, in 1883, that Gauguin committed himself to his art.


Gauguin was a leader in the Symbolist movement and one of the sources of Fauvism.

At the age of 17 Gauguin enlisted in the French Merchant Marines where he spent five years.

Gauguin married Mette Sophia Gad, a Danish born girl, and had five children.  He later abandoned his family in Copenhagen.

Gauguin spent time as a laborer on the Panama Canal.

In October of 1888,Van Gogh invited Gauguin to join him at Arles, the two did not get along and after Van Gogh threatened him with a razor, Gauguin quickly returned to Paris.  

In 1891 Gauguin left France for Tahiti where he chose to live amongst the natives and took a native girl as his wife and had a son.  

Gauguin had a broken ankle that never healed properly and he suffered from syphilis and strokes.

Alone and impoverished, Gauguin died of a stroke in the Marquesas Islands on May 8, 1903.  

Gauguin’s family left France for exile in Peru.  His parents were opponents of the regime of Louis Napoleon.  

227 of Gauguin’s works were shown at the Salon d’Automne in Paris in 1906.

Gauguin’s life inspired the novel, The Moon and Sixpence, by Somerset Maugham and the opera, of the same title, by John L Gardner.

Along with the five children from his marriage to Mette Sophia Gad, Gauguin had five additional illegitimate children from four different affairs.

Gauguin showed works in galleries managed by art dealer Theo Van Gogh.

Along with painting Gauguin also worked in various forms of sculpture, largely clay and wood.  

From the age of 3-7 Gauguin lived in Peru with his mother, his father had died on the trip there.  Later he returned to France.  

No original paintings by Gauguin remain in French Polynesia.  

There is a luxury ship named Paul Gauguin. 

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"Life is hardly more than a fraction of a second. Such a little time to prepare oneself for eternity!"

More Gauguin Quotes