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paul gauguin Quotes

Paul Gauguin Quotes

Birth Date: 1848-06-07 (Wednesday, June 7th, 1848)
Date of Death: 1903-05-08 (Friday, May 8th, 1903)



    • La peinture est le plus beau de tous les arts; en lui se resument toutes les sensations, a son aspect chacun peut, au gre de son imagination, creer le roman, d'un seul coup d'?il avoir l'ame envahie par les plus profonds souvenirs; point d'effort de memoire, tout resume en un seul instant. - Art complet qui resume tous les autres et les complete. - Comme la musique, il agit sur l'ame par l'intermediaire des sens, les tons harmonieux correspondant aux harmonies des sons; mais en peinture on obtient une unite impossible en musique ou les accords viennent les uns apres les autres, et le jugement eprouve alors une fatigue incessante s'il veut reunir la fin au commencement. En somme, l'oreille est un sens inferieur a celui de l'?il. L'ouie ne peut servir qu'a un seul son a la fois, tandis que la vue embrasse tout, en meme temps qu'a son gre elle simplifie.
    • With this painting, I tried to make everything breathe faith, quiet suffering, religious and primitive style and great nature with its scream.
    • Life at Papeete soon became a burden. It was Europe, the Europe which I had thought to shake off - and that under the aggravating circumstances of colonial snobbism, and the imitation, grotesque even to the point of caricature, of our customs, fashions, vices, and absurdities of civilization. Was I to have made this far journey, only to find the very thing which I had fled?
    • D'ou venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Ou allons-nous?
    • Many people say that I don't know how to draw because I don't draw particular forms. When will they understand that execution, drawing and color (in other words, style) must be in harmony with the poem?
    • Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge - and has to content oneself with dreaming.
    • Comment voyez-vous cet arbre? Il est bien vert? Mettez donc du vert, le plus beau vert de votre palette; - et cette ombre, plutot bleue? Ne craignez pas la peindre aussi bleue que possible.
    • I must confess that I too am a woman and that I am always prepared to applaud a woman who is more daring than I, and is equal to a man in fighting for freedom of behavior.
    • A great sentiment can be rendered immediately. Dream on it and look for the simplest form in which you can express it.
    • Nature has mysterious infinities and imaginative power. It is always varying the productions it offers to us. The artist himself is one of nature's means.
    • I am leaving in order to have peace and quiet, to be rid of the influence of civilization. I want only to do simple, very simple art, and to be able to do that, I have to immerse myself in virgin nature, see no one but savages, live their life, with no other thought in mind but to render, the way a child would, the concepts formed in my brain and to do this with the aid of nothing but the primitive means of art, the only means that are good and true.
    • I am a great artist and I know it. It's because of what I am that I have endured so much suffering, so as to pursue my vocation, otherwise I would consider myself a rogue - which is what many people think I am, for that matter. Oh well, what difference does it make. What upsets me the most is not so much the poverty as the things that perpetually get in the way of my art, which I cannot carry out the way I feel and which I would carry out if it weren't for the poverty that is like a straitjacket. You tell me I am wrong to stay away from the artist[ic] center. No, I am right; I've known for a long time what I am doing and why I am doing it. My artistic center is in my brain and nowhere else, and I am strong because I am never thrown off-course by other people and because I do what is in me.
    • A young man who is unable to commit a folly is already an old man.
    • Your Nordic blue eyes looked attentively at the paintings hanging on the walls. I felt stirrings of rebellion: a whole clash between your civilization and my barbarism. Civilization from which you suffer. Barbarism which for me is a rejuvenation.
    • In art, there are only two types of people: revolutionaries and plagiarists. And in the end, doesn't the revolutionary's work become official, once the State takes it over?
    • Copying nature - what is that supposed to mean? Follow the masters! But why should one follow them? The only reason they are masters is that they didn't follow anybody!
    • In order to produce something new, you have to return to the original source, to the childhood of mankind.
    • A time will come when people will think I am a myth, or rather something the newspapers have made up.
    • As I wanted to suggest a luxuriant and untamed type of nature, a tropical sun that sets aglow everything around it, I was obliged to give my figures a suitable setting. It is indeed the outdoor life - yet intimate at the same time, in the thickets and the shady streams, these women whispering in an immense palace decorated by nature itself, with all the riches that Tahiti has to offer. This is the reason behind all these fabulous colors, this subdued and silent glow. 'But none of this exists!' 'Oh yes it does, as an equivalent of the grandeur, the depth, the mystery of Tahiti, when you have to express it on a canvas measuring only one square meter.' Very subtle, very knowing in her naivete is the Tahitian Eve. The riddle hiding in the depth of her childlike eyes is still incommunicable to me.
    • My eyes close and uncomprehendingly see the dream in the infinite space that stretches away, elusive, before me.
    • No one wants my painting because it is different from other people's - peculiar, crazy public that demands the greatest possible degree of originality on the painter's part and yet won't accept him unless his work resembles that of the others!
    • You have long known what I have tried to establish: the right to dare everything; yet the difficulty I have had finding enough money to live on has been too great, and my capacities have not produced a very big result but the mechanism has got underway nevertheless. The public does not owe me anything because the pictorial work I have done is only relatively good, but the painters who benefit from that freedom today do owe me something.
    • How long have I been here? Henceforward for? I shall not know. For I have been traveling for too long. My bones too weary to remember my age. Hence, how long have I been here? Thou shalt never know.
    • Gauguin interests me very much as a man - very much. For a long time now it has seemed to me that in our nasty profession of painting we are most sorely in need of men with the hands and the stomachs of workmen. More natural tastes - more loving and more charitable temperaments - than the decadent dandies of the Parisian boulevards have. Well, here we are without the slightest doubt in the presence of a virgin creature with savage instincts. With Gauguin blood and sex prevail over ambition.
    • ?uvre etrangement cerebrale, passionnante, inegale encore, mais jusque dans ses inegalites poignante et superbe. ?uvre douloureuse, car pour la comprendre, pour en ressentir le choc, il faut avoir soi-meme connu la douleur et l'ironie de la douleur, qui est le seuil du mystere. Parfois, elle s'eleve jusqu'a la hauteur d'un mystique acte de foi; parfois, elle s'efface et grimace dans les tenebres du doute. Et, toujours emane d'elle l'amer et violent arome des poisons de la chair. Il y a dans cette ?uvre un melange inquietant et savoureux de splendeur barbare, de liturgie catholique, de reverie indoue, d'imagerie gothique, de symbolisme obscur et subtil; il ya des realites apres et des vols eperdus de poesie, par ou Gauguin cree un art absolument personnel et tout nouveau; art de peintre et de poete, d'apotre et de demon, et qui angoisse.
    • ll est extraordinaire qu'on puisse mettre tant de mystere dans tant d'eclat.
    • What is he, then? He is Gauguin, the savage who hates the burden of our civilization, a sort of Titan who, jealous of the creator, makes his own little world in his spare time, a child who takes toys apart in order to build others from the pieces, one who denies and defies, who prefers to see the sky red rather than blue like the rest of us.
    • Jamais je n'ai voulu et je n'accepterai le manque de modele ou de graduation. C'est un non-sens. Gauguin n'etait pas un peintre, il n'a fait que des images chinoises.
    • I advised him to go to New Orleans, but he decided it was too civilized. He had to have people around him with flowers on their heads and rings in their noses before he could feel at home.
    • Gauguin's work is symbolic, and he himself is a myth. He rejected the values of bourgeois society and of a machine civilization. His gesture had its sordid side, but retrospectively it seems to have been appropriate, coming at a time when the world was preparing for annihilating wars. It was not a useful example: we cannot all go and live on South Sea islands, and, as I have said before in this connection, modern man carries his civilization like a pack on his back, and cannot cast if off. But he can nevertheless protest against the burden, and state the real values of life. So Gauguin did, in paintings that are symbols of eternal truths, images of great beauty and serenity.
    • The last thing that Bonnard and Vuillard and Matisse wanted to do was paint portentous allegories about the destiny of mankind, as Gauguin did.
    • The popular fancy that Gauguin 'discovered himself' as a painter in Tahiti is quite wrong. All the components of his work - the flat patterns of colour, the wreathing outlines, the desire to make symbolic statements about fate and emotion, the interest in 'primitive' art, and the thought that color could function as a language - were assembled in France before 1891.
    • One may wonder if any painter in the last century put more meaning into his sense of color than Gauguin.
    • paul gauguin

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