Gauguin's Intimate Journals (Dover Fine Art, History of Art)
"These journals are an illuminating self-portrait of a unique personality.…They bring sharply into focus for me his goodness, his humor, his insurgent spirit, his clarity of vision, his inordinate hatred of hypocrisy and sham." — Emil Gauguin, the artist's son, in the Preface.
One of the great innovative figures in modern art, Gauguin was a complex, driven individual who, in 1883, gave up his job as a stockbroker in order to be free to paint every day. As time passed, he determined to sacrifice everything for his artistic vocation. Finally, in pursuit of a place to paint "natural men and women living lives unstained by the sham and hypocrisy of civilization, he took up residence in the South Seas, first in Tahiti and, later, in the Marquesas Islands.
Completed during the artist's final sojourn in the Marquesas, these revealing journals — reprinted from rare limited edition — throw much light on the painter's inner life and his thoughts about a great many topics. We learn of Gauguin's first stay in Paris in 1876, and his initial encounter with Impressionism, his tumultuous relationship with van Gogh when they lived and painted together in Arles, his pithy evaluations of Degas, Cèzanne, Manet, and other artists; his opinion of art dealers and critics (poor), and much more. Also here are illuminating glimpses of Gauguin's life in the islands: his delight in the simple, carefree lives of the natives and the physical charms of Polynesian women, counterbalanced by his struggles with poverty, hatred of the missionaries, and despair over the failures of French colonial justice.
Witty, wide-ranging, and aphoristic, these writings are not only entertaining in themselves, they are crucial for anyone seeking to understand Gauguin and his work. The text is enhanced with 27 full-page illustrations by Gauguin.
There is a head I know! Where the devil have I seen it? The profile is angular and I try to remember who it can be. Ah ! I have it, it’s myself! I resign myself without too much regret. I believed I was better looking. The Truth! At No. 9 Madame says, “What will you have? Champagne, I suppose?” And I modestly answer, “Give me a peppermint.” She, smartly dressed and with a heavy odour of verbena, takes a small glass of beer. Over there too the mirrors give back the faces of men and women; they.
Characteristic, that of nature itself, entire, without life, without expression, in solution, reduced to vacuity, swallowed up in the immensity of space which, without any form and as it were empty and penetrated to its very depths by night and silence, must have been a nameless void: this was chaos, the primeval nothingness, not of the Being but of life, afterwards to be called the empire of death, when life, produced from it, returns to it. And my dream, with the boldness of the unconscious,.
As if they were cut out of wood, immense as they are, must be very light since the bark does not sink. Meanwhile, in the foreground a draped figure, very much smaller, maintains itself in a most improbable fashion on a rock, one does not know by what marvelous law of equilibrium. Before this canvas I have seen Him, always the same He, the modern man, who reasons out his emotions as he reasons the laws of nature, smiling that smile of the satisfied man and saying to me, “You understand that? ”.
Love, without any of the sentiments that are dear to us. They say to him, “Kill!”—and he kills. It is God who wills it! “Seize that region,”—and he seizes it. “Seize that inheritance,”—and he seizes it. Your wealth? There is not a square inch of land that you have not extorted from the faithful by the promise of heaven, obliging them to give you the fruits of everything that is sold, even the fruits of prostitution. Poor divers who, braving the sharks, seek for pearls in the depths of the.
Them, the males. They usually require more people to wait on them than the sick people. Beside a patient’s bed they seem mere busybodies, though some of them, of course, are good-hearted country girls, capable (at best) of exciting compassion, who now and then give the soldiers cakes for coming to mass. As for the males, gathered together from every nation (French missions!) they are out looking for little Chinese boys, collecting money to repair and keep up the churches, and getting.