Paintings by Paul Gauguin


When Paul Gauguin submitted his work to be considered for the Impressionists' fourth exhibition, not many had heard of the stock agent who had only recently taken up painting. Despite the fact the works had been submitted after the official deadline, the organizers of the event were convinced by his talent and decided to show it anyway. Critical response was positive, and Gauguin joined the Impressionist fold.

By the eighth Impressionist exhibition, however, critical assessment of Paul Gauguin's work had turned sour. In reviews of the final exhibition, critics dismissed his work as classic Impressionism, and in reaction, Gauguin chose imagination and memory as central forces in his art.

Leaving Paris behind, Paul Gauguin briefly joined Vincent van Gogh in Arles, but Gauguin had already moved far from his association with the Impressionists. Always charismatic, Gauguin attracted a circle of young artists, including Paul Sérusier, who took inspiration from Gauguin's brilliance, and they led the vanguard of the next generation of French artists.

Below are some links to famous paintings by Paul Gauguin. Follow them to learn more about the Impressionist master who was once a stock agent.

  • The Market Gardens of Vaugirard: The Market Gardens of Vaugirard by Paul Gauguin shows Gauguin painting in the tradition of fellow Impressionist Camille Pissarro. Learn about Gauguin's The Market Gardens of Vaugirard.
  • The Little One is Dreaming, Etude: One of Gauguin's young children is the subject for his 1881 work The Little One is Dreaming, Etude. Read about Gauguin's The Little One is Dreaming, Etude, notable for its intimacy.
  • Paysage à Saint-Cloud: Paysage à Saint-Cloud by Paul Gauguin was part of the Impressionists eighth exhibition, and was dismissed by the critics. Read about Gauguin's Paysage à Saint-Cloud.
  • Vision After the Sermon: Paul Gauguin's Vision After the Sermon is seen by critics as Gauguin's rejection of Naturalism. Learn about Vision After the Sermon, by Paul Gauguin, which marked a new direction for the artist.
  • Tehamana Has Many Ancestors (Merahi metua no Tehamana): Tehamana Has Many Ancestors by Paul Gauguin is one of a number of works that emerged from Gauguin's trips to Tahiti. Learn about Tehamana Has Many Ancestors by Paul Gauguin, a portrait of Gauguin's longtime Tahitian companion.

On the next page, you'll find a detailed look at Gauguin's painting The Market Gardens of Vaugirard.

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

The Market Gardens of Vaugirard by Paul Gauguin

The 1879 painting The Market Gardens of Vaugirard by Paul Gauguin was one of eight works Gauguin submitted to the fifth Impressionist exhibition. With The Market Gardens of Vaugirard's broad areas of color and patchy application of paint, Paul Gauguin followed the example of Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro, emphasizing structure over atmospheric effect.

Early in his career Gauguin painted in a Naturalist style shared by other Impressionists. On the next page we'll see another example of Paul Gauguin working in this mode.

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

The Little One is Dreaming, Etude by Paul Gauguin

The Little One is Dreaming, Etude by Paul Gauguin (oil the
The Little One is Dreaming, Etude by Paul Gauguin (oil the

The Little One is Dreaming, Etude was completed by Paul Gauguin in 1881, in time for the Impressionists' seventh exhibition. With more than a dozen works, Gauguin was a stronger presence at the seventh exhibition than in the previous ones. He labeled his work etude, or study, suggesting that The Little One is Dreaming, Etude was observed and swiftly painted to capture the momentary effect. The subject is one of Paul Gauguin's children, asleep in a cradle with her back to the viewer, an intimate glimpse into his family life.

Though Paul Gauguin received critical praise during the seventh Impressionist exhibition, by the time the eighth exhibition rolled around critics were less impressed. Next we'll look at an Impressionist painting that fared less well with the critics.

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Paysage a Saint-Cloud by Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin's 1885 painting Paysage à Saint-Cloud did not fare well with the critics at the eighth exhibition. When compared to Seurat's scientific formulations, Gauguin's naturalist landscapes were dismissed as classic Impressionism: competent, well-painted, but nothing new and pale next to the "old masters" such as Camille Pissarro and Claude Monet. Gauguin soon rejected the naturalist approach evident in Paysage à Saint-Cloud for an art based on memory and imagination.

Critical attacks prompted Paul Gauguin to seek other modes of artistic expression. On the next page we'll find an example of Gauguin moving in a different direction.

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

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Vision after the Sermon by Paul Gauguin

Vision after the Sermon by Paul Gauguin (oil on canvas, Gallery of
Vision after the Sermon by Paul Gauguin (oil on canvas, Gallery of

Vision after the Sermon by Paul Gauguin, completed in 1888, exemplifies Gauguin's interest in a new aesthetic. After the eighth Impressionist exhibition, Gauguin struck out to find his own mode of expression. Searching for a more authentic environment than urban Paris, Paul Gauguin made repeated visits to remote regions of Brittany. In a bold rejection of naturalism, Gauguin painted Vision After the Sermon -- a depiction of Breton women and their priest who witness Jacob struggling with the angel -- dissolving the barrier between the zones of religious belief and spiritual imagination.

Eventually Paul Gauguin left France altogether in an attempt to find other inspiration. The place he chose was Tahiti. Keep reading to learn about a painting Gauguin created after visiting the tropics.

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

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Tehamana Has Many Ancestors (Merahi metua no Tehamana) by Paul Gauguin

Tehamana Has Many Ancestors (Merahi metua no Tehamana) by 21-3/8 inches) can be found
Tehamana Has Many Ancestors (Merahi metua no Tehamana) by 21-3/8 inches) can be found

Paul Gauguin's 1893 work Tehamana Has Many Ancestors (Merahi metua no Tehamana) emerged from Gauguin's first journey to Tahiti in June 1891.

Gauguin was disappointed that the primitive paradise that he sought was being subsumed by Western influence. The young woman in Tehamana Has Many Ancestors (Merahi metua no Tehamana) became Gauguin's companion, and he painted Tehamana in the modest "Mother Hubbard" dress that was introduced to Tahitian women by missionaries. Nevertheless, the plaited fan and evocative images Gauguin placed on the wall vividly portray the perseverance of Tehamana's ancient heritage.

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

For more on Impressionist paintings, artists, and art history, see:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Debra N. Mancoff is an art historian and lecturer and the author of numerous books on nineteenth-century European and American paintings. She is a scholar in residence at the Newberry Library.