Gauguin's Children

Gauguin was an artist before anything else.  At one point he had a break down and confessed that he had sacrificed his family for his art.  Indeed, when he decided to paint full-time he no longer had the money to support his family.  Mette Sophie Gauguin, his wife, took his five legitimate children to Copenhagen, Denmark where they would live with her relatives.  Gauguin would rarely visit them.  Of the five, we know his two favorites were Aline and Clovis, named for his father and mother.


What happened to his 8 children is as follows, beginning with the first born to the last.

Emile Gauguin (1874-1955)

Emile was the oldest son of Paul Gauguin and his first wife Mette-Sophie Gad. Emile grew up in Denmark but traveled to Colombia and Panama. On September 10, 1908 he married Olga von Hedemann in Copenhagen and then the two moved to Colombia where he worked as an engineer carrying out various civil works. Eventually, Emile separated from Olga and moved to the United States where he married Priscilla Buntin. The two moved to Englewood, Florida in 1949 where they lived out the rest of their days.

Aline Gauguin (1877-1897)

Named after Aline Maria Chazal, Paul Gauguin’s mother, Aline Gauguin was allegedly one of Gauguin’s favorite children.  She died young of pneumonia.

Clovis Gauguin (1879-1900)

Named after Clovis Gauguin, Paul Gauguin’s father, Clovis, like Aline, was one of Gauguin’s favorites.  He also died young, but of blood poisoning after a hip operation.

Jean Rene Gauguin (1881-1961)

Jean Rene Gauguin, after moving to Copenhagen at the age of 3 with his mother and siblings, became a Danish citizen in 1909.  In 1924, he competed in the Summer Olympics art competition with his piece, Boxer.  He won the bronze medal for Denmark that year.  Other pieces by Jean Rene Gauguin include the China fountain at Tuileries and A Satyr Kissing a Nymph.  A good place to learn more about Jean Rene Gauguin is in Ruth Hamilton’s autobiography, The Hamilton Saga.  She spent time with Jean Rene Gauguin while he was still alive and she considered him a great artist.

Paul Rollon “Pola” Gauguin (1883-1961)

This son of Gauguin became an artist and art critic under the name of Pola Gauguin.  His works of art include Liggende akt og sittende mann, Badepiger i det gronne, Standing female nude, and Auti Te Pape.  Most important for history, however, Pola Gauguin wrote the book My Father, Paul Gauguin.

Germaine Huet (Germaine Chardon) (1891-

Germaine Huet painted under the pseudonym of Germaine Chardon.  She was the daughter of Paul Gauguin and his young mistress Juliette Huet who was a seamstress in Paris.  Germaine Chardon is best known for her paintings and sculptures and she was primarily active in Belgium.  Her works include: Africaine et son enfant, Skeletons, Young woman with reflection, and Beach huts at Nieuport.

Emile Gauguin (Emile Marae a Tai) (1899-1980)

Emile Gauguin (Emile Marae a Tai) was the son of Paul Gauguin and Tehura a Tahitian woman.  Brought to Chicago in 1963 by journalist Josette Giraud, Emile Marae a Tai displayed the artistic gene as well as he began to paint and create his own works.

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"Art requires philosophy, just as philosophy requires art. Otherwise, what would become of beauty?"

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