PHOTO: “Returning from the Harvest,” by Paul Gauguin, 1884. (Photo via Facebook)
You may already be familiar with Paul Gauguin Cruises, which specializes in luxury travel experiences in French Polynesia.
It stands apart in a class by itself partly due to the impressive standards of quality and luxury it manages to achieve, but also because it focuses specifically on taking guests on a journey that allows them to discover and explore the wonders of Tahiti, the South Pacific, and Fiji.
But perhaps you have also wondered about the man himself. If you are curious about the company’s namesake, you might be interested to learn that he has quite a compelling story, as he was a man with considerable talents and creative gifts.
Born in Paris in 1848, Paul Gauguin spent several years living with relatives in Peru as a child, and this early exposure to the Peruvian culture and aesthetic style is believed to have greatly influenced his creative approach later in life. He grew up to become an extremely skilled painter, one who often not only didn’t follow current trends but often ended up creating new trends of his own. His signature style involved a bold use of color, employing techniques that were viewed as experimental and unusual during his time period.
He became friends with Vincent Van Gogh, and the two seemed to share several things in common, including artistic talent and a tendency toward depression and psychological struggles. Gauguin didn’t seem to connect with the Impressionist style of the time, and was more drawn to the artistic styles favored by creative types in Asia and Africa. He felt these styles were more imaginative and offered a greater level of symbolic depth.
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Over time, he became particularly influenced by the works of Japanese artists, and their style seemed to inspire him to disregard the period’s standard conventions regarding perspective and subtle use of color in paintings. He instead opted to use intense bursts of color in his work.
In the late 1800s, Gauguin — who was struggling with financial challenges, as well as a lack of recognition for his artistic talent — sailed to the area of Tahiti, perhaps in an attempt to finally realize his dream of retreating to his own island paradise where he could create what he wanted in solitude and peace. He spent the remainder of his life living in this area, immersing himself in Polynesian culture that would heavily influence his work in his later years.
Gauguin died at the age of 54, and seemed to only be truly appreciated as an artistic pioneer after his death. He is credited as being one of the forefathers of Primitivism, a post-Impressionist style that takes its name from the fact that it uses primitive techniques, often employing tribal objects.
Given the fact that Paul Gauguin would find the utopia of his dreams in French Polynesia, it seems very fitting that a cruise line specifically focused on that tropical paradise region would honor him as their inspiration.
Embark on a quest to discover your own slice of tropical island paradise. Book a journey with Paul Gauguin Cruises now.