Paul Gauguin

1848-1903

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Value, estimation and price of the artist Paul Gauguin

Price of a painting:  62,000 – 300,000,000 €.

Estimate of a drawing: 4 500 – 6,000,000 €.

Price of a sculpture: 300 – 25,000,000 €.

Estimation of a print: 100 – 101,000 €.

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The Navy and introduction to painting

Paul Gauguin was a French post-impressionist painter born on 7 June 1848 in Paris and who died on 8 May 1903 in the Marquesas Islands. He has proven to be the major painters of the 19th century and is one of the forerunners, along with Munch and Cézanne, of modern art.

After studying in Orléans, the future painter did his military service in the French Navy in 1868 and took part in the War of 1870. In 1871 he left the army and became a stockbroker at the Paris Stock Exchange, where quickly became successful.

Thanks to his tutor Gustave Arosa, an art lover, Paul Gauguin was introduced to the world of the Impressionists and in 1874 he met Camille Pissarro and attended the first exhibition representing Impressionism. The young man caught the fever and started painting, exhibiting from 1879 to 1886 with the Impressionists. In 1882 he quit his job and in 1884 he went to live in Rouen, not far from Pissarro. He created no less than 40 canvases depicting the city and its countryside.

He divided his life between Copenhagen (Denmark), where his wife Mette-Sophie Gad was from and where their family lived, and Paris where he painted.

In 1886, he went to Brittany to the Pont-Aven School, where he became the leader and met Émile Bernard (cloisonnism), then returned to Paris where he became friends with Vincent Van Gogh. But it was in 1887 that he embarked for the Panama Canal where he hoped to work. As living conditions there were difficult, Paul Gauguin and his friend the painter Charles Laval decided to leave for the island of Martinique. He lived there from June to October 1887 and painted 17 works, but was forced to return to the continent the following November due to dysentery and malaria.

Van Gogh and Polynesia

Gaugin’s style became more natural and more synthetic thanks to the influence of painter Émile Bernard and in 1889 Paul Gauguin produced Vision after the Sermon, which later inspired Matisse, Picasso and Munch. Van Gogh and Gauguin were very close and painted together in Arles in the south of France, both showed a keen interest in colour in their artwork. But on 23 December 1888, the two friends stopped living together, following the famous episode of the severed ear.

In 1891, Gaugin was broke and left for Polynesia where he wanted to escape the artificial and conventional world of the continent. Following a fight, he was wounded in the leg and had to sell his paintings to pay for morphine. He also contracted syphilis before leaving for the Marquesas Islands in 1901. He eventually died of the disease in 1903 and was buried next to Jacques Brel’s grave. He left a bad reputation behind him, both among the Tahitians and the Marquesans, due to his behaviour with very young women. His paintings in both these locations were sold off and his sculptures were destroyed.

The painting Nafea faa ipoipo was sold for $300 million in Switzerland in 2015.

Recognising Gauguin’s signature

Like many artists, Paul Gauguin did not sign all of his works. However, you will find below an example of the signatures to give you an idea. Variations of these signatures do exist, do not hesitate to contact one of our experts to formally authenticate a signature.

Appraising and selling a Gauguin’s artwork

If you own a Paul Gauguin’s artwork, use our online form for a free appraisal.

You will then be contacted by a member of our team of experts and auctioneers to give you an independent opinion of the market price. Should you wish to sell your painting or any other artwork, our specialists will also advise you on the various options available for selling at the best price.

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