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Monday, March 10, 2014

Paul Gauguin

"Poor artist!  You gave away part of your soul when you painted the picture which you are now trying to dispose of."

French Artist
1848 - 1903

Tahitian Women on the Beach
The yin and the yang for most creative leaders is the conflict between the passion for creating and the need to eat, between time spend creating and time spend selling.  How do we balance these two opposites?  

Most of us would prefer to paint, to write and to compose, but we also have the need to feed our families and to a lesser extent ourselves.  Some people take jobs teaching.  Others work in business.  The poet Wallace Stevens spent his career as a lawyer for an insurance company.  How do you balance the need for creating art and the need for cash to live?

Paul Gauguin was born in Paris, France to a French journalist and the daughter of an influential Peruvian family.  When Paul was two, his family moved to Peru.  His father died on the voyage.  When he was seven, his mother returned to France with his sister and him to live with the paternal grandfather.  Paul's first language was Peruvian Spanish.  He also learned French.

Paul joined the French navy and was at sea when his mother died.  Upon returning to France, Paul became a successful businessman.  At 25, he married a Danish woman and they had 5 children in ten years.  In 1884, Gauguin moved his family to Denmark, the home of his wife, and tried to sell tarpaulins but failed.  His wife supported the family by giving French lessons.  His marriage failed and he returned to Paris in 1885.  

In 1873, Paul also took up painting in his spare time.  He frequented cafes where he found other artists.  He visited art galleries and purchased paintings by emerging artists.  He formed a friendship with Pissarro who introduced him to other painters.  He spent 9 weeks painting with van Gogh in 1888 in Arles, France.  He also traveled to Martinique and Tahiti. Both places influenced his paintings.

Here are some of Paul Gauguin's paintings.  Enjoy.