Massively influential in his era, Paul Gauguin was a painter, etcher, sculptor, drawer and writer and his works strongly influenced artistic movements including Symbolism and Fauvism. However, Gauguin did not receive a traditional artist’s training and critical to his development was working alongside experienced and thoughtful painters such as Pissarro and Cézanne. In the summer of 1882, the three artists spent time together in the provincial town of Pontoise where Pissarro lived. Famously, he also worked alongside Vincent van Gogh. They spent time together working on bold, flamboyant pieces at the “yellow house” in the French countryside of Arles.
Soon after a tense nine weeks of working with Van Gogh, Gauguin chose to turn his back on Western Civilization entirely and sought a closer connection to nature. Fleeing for the French Polynesian Islands he developed the foundations of what would become Symbolism. Marrying everyday observation with the mystical meanings and stories of a scene, his later works were completed as a philosophical, meditation like experience, greatly influenced by the ‘primitive’ arts of Asia, Africa and French Polynesia.