Gauguin was born in Paris. His father was a journalist and his mother was the daughter of a socialist leader. His great-grandfather was nobility.
The family moved to Peru, but Gauguin’s father died on the voyage. Gauguin, his mother and his sister lived with his uncle’s family in Lima for four years.
Gauguin’s family returned to France and lived in Orléans with his grandmother. He attended Catholic boarding school and learned French for the first time.
At 17 years old, Gauguin joined the merchant marines to fulfill his mandatory military service.
Gauguin joined the French navy. His mother died in the same year.
Gauguin returned to Paris, where his mother’s boyfriend helped him to secure a job with the French stock market.
Gauguin met and married a Danish woman, Mette-Sophie Gad. He began painting in his free time. He befriended Camille Pissaro, who introduced him to other artists.
Émilie Gauguin was born.
Aline Gauguin was born.
Clovis Gauguin was born. The artist exhibited a sculpture of Émile at the encouragement of Pissaro.
Jean Réne Gauguin was born. The artist showed his first paintings at an Impressionist exhibit.
Paul Rollon Gauguin was born.
Gauguin moved his family to Copenhagen to pursue a business opportunity, which eventually fell through.
Gauguin had been exploring the possibility of a career in art since the stock market crash of 1882. In 1885, he returned to France alone to pursue this idea full-time. His relationship with his family disintegrated over time. He became a follower of Paul Cezanne and purchased several of his paintings.
Gauguin visits Panama and Martinique with his friend and fellow artist, Charles Leval. He lived in a hut and became ill with dysentery and marsh fever. The exact number of paintings that he created during this time is unknown.
Gauguin spent nine weeks painting with Vincent Van Gogh in Arles. The two artists had a falling out. Van Gogh threatened Gauguin with a razor blade and infamously cut off a piece of his own ear. Gauguin painted a famous piece titled Vision After the Sermon in Pont-Aven, Brittany in this year, as well. We see him begin to experiment with harsh yellows and reds and the technique of Cloisonnism.
Gauguin painted The Yellow Christ and organized a show at a café owned by a Mr. Volpini on the grounds of the 1889 Exposition Universelle. Among the works he exhibited was a set of ten yellow zincographs – the artist’s first experimentation with printmaking.
Driven by a desire to escape conventional civilization, Gauguin moved to Tahiti for the first time. This was a very artistically prolific time for him and he also published a book about his experiences, titled Noa Noa. He had several mistresses and several children by those mistresses, but he never remarried. Germaine Gauguin was born in 1891.
Gauguin returned to France and began working on Mahana No Atua (Day of the God), which was finished the following year.
The artist went back to Tahiti and only returned to France once more before his death, to paint again in Pont-Aven.
Gauguin fathered a daughter, but she died just a few days after her birth.
Gauguin moved to Punaauia and painted his masterpiece, Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? His daughter Aline died of pneumonia.
Émile Marae a Tai Gauguin was born.
Gauguin’s son, Clovis, died of a blood infection.
The artist sailed for Hiva Oa, always searching for a lost paradise.
Another daughter was born. There is some speculation that she may have been Belgian artist Germaine Chardon.
Gauguin was charged with libeling the French governor of Tahiti. He was given a fine and sentenced to three months in prison. However, he overdosed on morphine before the sentence could be carried out. Many scholars believe that the artist suffered from syphilis.