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Paul Gauguin's Transition - Post-Impressionism to Symbolism

            In France, starting in the late nineteenth century, two significant artistic movements were engineered. Impressionism was generated to capture a response or feeling for the viewer. The style of Impressionism had a focus on the momentary effect of light, nature, and movement. Post-Impressionism was the reaction to Impressionism. The artists of Post-Impressionism focused more on the symbolic content, visual design and structure. Paul Gauguin was one of the few leaders that led Post-Impressionism.1 Eventually Gauguin would completely turn away from nature and look to his imagination seeking creativity from his inner self.2 Paul Gauguin's Post-Impressionist background influenced the primitive quality of his paintings as he transitioned into the new art form of Symbolism. .
             Paul Gauguin was born in Paris in 1848, during the Revolution.3 His family would immediately move to Peru to escape the Revolution. His father, Clovis, who was a journalist died on the journey to South America. His mother, Aline Marie, and his siblings stayed with his grandparents in Lima until he was six. His grandparents were wealthy Peruvian settlers due to the intermarriage relationship with Inca nobles. This life of luxury in an exotic paradise haunted Gauguin. Eventually he returned to France as he served in the merchant marine and French navy. After his time in the French navy his guardian, Gustave Arosa, got him a job on the Paris stock exchange.4 Arosa was an enthusiast for Courbet, Delacroix, Corot, and Daumier and had a private collection of these various artists' work.5 Gauguin settled down to a bourgeois life, marrying a Danish governess, Matte Gad, in 1873; she bore him five children.6 By 1879, Gauguin himself started to collect art, mostly Impressionist work, and he had the chance to work with Camille Pissarro, who encouraged him tremendously.
             The early art of Gauguin developed from Impressionist foundation, but he went without the Impressionistic way of painting with natural colors and imagery.

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