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Gauguin was not appreciated until after his death and is known for his experimental use of colour and synthetic style, which differed from Impressionism. Towards the end of his life he spent ten years in French Polynesia. The paintings from this period show people or landscapes from this region. His work had an influence on the French avant-garde and many modern artists such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. He is known for his relationship with Vincent and Theo van Gogh. Gauguin's art became popular after his death, partly due to the efforts of dealer Ambroise Vollard, who held exhibitions of his work late in his career and organized two important posthumous exhibitions in Paris.

Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (* 7 June 1848 in Paris; † 8 May 1903 in Atuona on Hiva Oa, French Polynesia) was an influential French painter. Gauguin's Post-Impressionist work strongly influenced the Nabis and Symbolism; he was a co-founder of Synthetism and became a pioneer of Expressionism. He thus played an important role in the development of European painting.


Paul Gauguin


Oil on canvas, 69,0 x 91,0 cm 
 Musée d‘Orsay, Paris, France 
 Giraudon © Bridgeman Images

139 | Tahitian Women (Femmes de Tahiti) Frauen aus Tahiti, 1891

Oil on canvas, 95,3 x 130,5 cm 
 Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
 © akg-images

140 | Why Are You Angry ? (No te aha oe riri ?) Warum bist du böse ?, 1896

Oil on canvas, 75,0 x 94,0 cm
 Musée d‘Orsay, Paris, France 
 Giraudon © Bridgeman Images

141 | Arearea – Joyousness – The Red Dog (Arearea oder Zeitvertreib – Der rote Hund), 1892

Oil on canvas, 101,5 x 77,5 cm
 Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al ani, Doha, Qatar
 Giraudon © Bridgeman Images

142 | Nafea faa ipoipo ? (When Will You Marry ?) Wann heiratest Du ?, 1892



Gauguin was an important figure in the Symbolist movement as a painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and writer. His expression of the inherent meaning of subjects in his paintings under the influence of the Cloisonnist style paved the way for Primitivism and a return to pastoralism. He was also an influential proponent of wood engravings and woodcuts as an art form. Paul Gauguin returned to Tahiti in the fall of 1895 and was soon plagued by physical ailments and financial difficulties. Nevertheless, in 1896-1897 he painted a group of impressive canvases in a larger format than his usual works. He painted Why are you evil? No te aha oe riri? Why Are You Angry? on an earlier Tahitian composition, but changed the mood of the painting. Here the main figures are larger and detached from each other, their postures and characters more difficult to interpret. The questioning title encourages the viewer to search for some kind of narrative, but the paintings resist a definitive reading.

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