Saturday, June 03, 2006

Art and Madness Series 3

Paul Gauguin, Self Portrait, 1894
Paul Gauguin was born on June 7, 1848, in Paris and lived in Lima, Peru, from 1851 to 1855. He served in the merchant marine from 1865 to 1871 and traveled in the tropics. Gauguin later worked as a stockbroker’s clerk in Paris but painted in his free time. He began working with Camille Pissarro in 1874 and showed in every Impressionist exhibition between 1879 and 1886. By 1884 Gauguin had moved with his family to Copenhagen, where he unsuccessfully pursued a business career. He returned to Paris in 1885 to paint full-time, leaving his family in Denmark.

Head with Horns, ca. 1895–97Carved wood, mounted on a pedestal

In 1891 Gauguin auctioned his paintings to raise money for a voyage to Tahiti, which he undertook that same year. Two years later illness forced him to return to Paris, where, with the critic Charles Morice, he began Noa Noa, a book about Tahiti. Gauguin was able to return to Tahiti in 1895. He unsuccessfully attempted suicide in January 1898, not long after completing his mural-sized painting Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? In 1899 he championed the cause of French settlers in Tahiti in a political journal, Les Guêpes, and founded his own periodical, Le Sourire. Gauguin’s other writings include Cahier pour Aline (1892), L’Espirit moderne et le catholicisme (1897 and 1902) and Avant et après (1902), all of which are autobiographical.

"May the day come soon when I'll be myself in the woods of an ocean island! To live there in ecstasy, calmness and art. . . . There in Tahiti I shall be able to listen to the sweet murmuring music of my heart's beating in the silence of the beautiful tropical nights." --Paul Gauguin

In 1901 the artist moved to the Marquesas, where he died by suicide on May 8, 1903.

Now on to Richard Dadd.... 1817-1886

The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke 1855-64, Oil on canvas

The fourth of eleven children of a chemist and druggist, Richard Dadd began his artistic training at the age of thirteen. He studied miniature painting, portraiture, and landscapes and was accepted to the prestigious Royal Academy for further study after turning twenty. Academy professors remarked on his gentleness, cheerful good nature, and great promise as an artist.

Portrait of Sir Thomas Phillips in Turkish Dress
Richard Dadd (1817 - 1886)
Date: 1842 - 1843
Materials: watercolour on paper

In 1842 Dadd left England on a one-year drawing trip throughout Europe and the Middle East. Shortly after his return, he lost his sanity, as had three of his siblings. Dadd murdered his father, attempted to kill a stranger, and spoke of killing the pope and the emperor of Austria, insisting that the Egyptian god Osiris requested these acts. In 1843 the courts and his family committed him to an insane asylum, where he remained for the next forty-three years, continuing to paint.

Man in top hat
19th century
By Richard Dadd
Watercolour on paper

Well, yesterday was a very looong day...Have a great weekend everyone, see you on Monday!~Rain

N Posted by Rain at 6/03/2006 12:28:00 AM


  • Blogger Steven posted at 8:22 PM  
    Great stuff. You're going to help me out in Art History next semester. It'll be great.
  • Blogger jules posted at 6:24 PM  
    It's scary how many creative people ended up killing themselves. I know medicine has come a long way, but having been there at the edge myself, it is a scary, scary thing.
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