Paul Gauguin, a French artist, printmaker, painter, and sculptor, was born in June 1848 and died in May 1903 and could be regarded as a very notable artist during his era. His art and artistic experiments greatly influenced many developments that can simply be described as avant-garde in the 20th century.
Paul Gauguin is one of the most important figures in painting history, as well as in the history of modern art. His work influenced many artists and movements, from fauvism to expressionism to cubism.
However, outside of his influence on other artists, he is remembered for his bold use of color and for his unique style. In addition to being an artist, Gauguin was also a father. He had five children with three different women: Aline Chazal (his first wife), Mette-Sophie Gad (his common-law wife), and Claire Franquet (a model).
Complicated Family Life
Paul Gauguin was married twice and had five children. However, only four were living at the time of his death. His first wife was Mette Gad (1849-1912), whom he married in Copenhagen in 1874 when she was only 15 years old. She gave birth to two sons: Jean Jacques (born 1876) and Émile Bernard (born 1879).
These boys went on to become painters and playwrights respectively. Corrine Albin-Gartner (1864-1922) remained his companion until her death from TB; they never married but lived together from 1898 on.
This relationship produced a son named Vincent (1889-1917), an artist who died while fighting in World War I; a daughter named Clovis Trégardin Albin-Gartner (1895–1968); another daughter born out of wedlock named Jeanne Ruchert (1895–1984); and another son named Jean Ruchert Albin-Gartner (1900–1985).
Paul Gauguin’s First Marriage
French painter Paul Gauguin first got married to Mette Gad, the daughter of the Danish sculptor Michael Gottlieb Bindesbøll. They were married in Copenhagen, Denmark, and had five children together:
- Olga Pauline (1889–1920)
- Aline Marie Therese (1891–1977)
- Jean René Ernest Vivien (1894–1916)
- Caroline Marcelle Lucie Leonie Gabrielle (1895–1910)
- Émile Bernard Jacques Joseph Saint-Père was nicknamed ‘Tahitian’ for his maternal grandmother who was from Tahiti. He died in infancy.
Gauguin’s first wife, Mette, was Danish, and her family’s wealth enabled them to travel frequently during the marriage. She had been raised in Copenhagen and attended a school for young ladies there until she married a Gauguin artist at age 23.
Gauguin’s Second Marriage
In 1903, the artist married his second wife, a Frenchwoman named Corrine. Corrine was an artist and a singer who had been widowed at the age of 20 and had two children with her first husband. She was also 20 years younger than Gauguin.
By this time in his life, he had become increasingly withdrawn and difficult to get along with. In addition to suffering from syphilis (which would eventually result in blindness), he was battling alcoholism and depression while struggling financially because of declining sales of his paintings. Gauguin’s behavior became more erratic after he moved with Corrine to Tahiti in 1904—and it got even worse when they later moved back to France together in 1906 after visiting New York City for an exhibition of his work there earlier that year.
Paul and Corrine’s marriage was a long-distance one. They met in Paris, where the artist was living at the time. Corrine was a widow from Tahiti and had two children of her own, who lived with her mother on the island. In order for them to marry, Paul had to return to France for good! After their wedding ceremony in Paris on February 26th, 1895 (the day before his 44th birthday), they spent about three months together before he left for Martinique again.
Throughout their marriage, Paul would travel back and forth between Martinique and France every year or so (or longer if he could manage it) while his wife stayed behind with their children in Tahiti until she joined him later on.
Child Out Of Wedlock
Gauguin fathered a child out of wedlock. In 1894, Gauguin had a daughter named Aline with Aline Charigot, who was his maid and the mother of his two other children. The two never married and did not live together; they were separated when she was four years old.
They never saw each other again, although he did pay for her schooling until 1906 when she was 14 years old.
Gauguin’s partner in life was Mette Gad (Mette Skovgaard). He met her while on holiday in Denmark where she worked as an assistant teacher at a school for girls. She gave birth to their first child Emil Axel at home on 29 December 1895; then in 1897 came Jean Marie Vincent followed by Christian Bernard Emilio Jacques Marie Guillaume
Family At His Death
By the time Paul Gauguin died, he had five children, however, only four of his children were alive. Paul Gauguin was a man who took care of his children and made sure they had everything they needed.
He would take them to their mother’s house, or he would take them to his own house. He often took his children with him while he painted in the studio.
It’s obvious that Paul Gauguin had a complicated relationship with his wife and children. It can be hard to imagine someone who appears to be so family-oriented depicting himself as essentially a lone wolf in his paintings, but Gauguin’s art was always very personal, even if it only told part of the story.
It seems that Gauguin struggled to reconcile the life he wanted (or felt like he needed) with the normal, everyday family life he was actually living. Perhaps this is why his children are rarely depicted in his work. It may have been too painful for him to capture on canvas the truth about how much he missed them—and how much they missed him—while he was away for so long.