The best Gauguin stuff wasn’t the colorful and well-known Tahiti paintings of topless third-world women, it was the stuff he did earlier in France. Like this one:
You feel like you could just step right into the painting. The postures of the people are only sketched with a few lines, yet they look like they might move at any moment. Their body language tells you exactly how they are feeling.
True, they don’t have the philosophical cues the later works have, like titles about dreams and being watched by the dead, but these earlier works are easy to live with. The rhythms of their geometrical patterns and their colors wear well. You could look at these every morning while drinking your coffee and never get tired of them.
Several years ago I was lucky enough to see a Gauguin exhibition in town that was borrowed from works in various other institutions. I remember enjoying Gauguin’s woodcuts as well, but I don’t remember what they were like. The most interesting object was the huge block of wood they were made from.
Here are some more. (Click picture for link to museum page where you can click again to enlarge.)
“Isn’t it a mistake to sacrifice everything for the children, and doesn’t It lead the nation to sacrifice those achievements which its most gifted and energetic members could attain? A man sacrifices himself for his children, who when they grow up sacrifice themselves for their children. And so on As a result everybody sacrifices himself. And the lunacy knows no end.”
Gauguin outlived two of his children. He died at the age of 54.