Paul Gauguin
Paul Gauguin
De l'impressionnisme à l'Ecole de Pont-Aven

Paul Gauguin

The journey of an artist looking for new ideas who found inspiration in the charming town of Pont-Aven.

Gauguin’s arrival in Pont-Aven

Paul Gauguin arrived in Pont-Aven in 1886 on the advice of a friend and painter.

After having worked as a sailor and as a foreign exchange broker, this father with a family decided to try to make a living out of his passion: painting.

Before his arrival, he was already a disciple of Pissarro in Paris and was a real “impressionist”. 


Gauguin’s first stays in Pont-Aven

Gauguin first came to Pont-Aven for economical reasons. Marie Jeanne Gloanec, the owner of the Pension Gloanec, used to offer payment facilities to the painters. 

He discovered Pont-Aven in the spring of 1886.

The same year, Paul Gauguin along with his friend Charles Laval left Europe for Panama and Martinique, looking for adventure and exoticism. 

His second trip to Pont-Aven took place in 1888 and marked some decisive meetings with new young artists. 

He first met Emile Bernard, who was 20 years younger than him. He was a young man full of knowledge, skill and will to see his ideas come through. They completed each other as Paul Gauguin had a strong personality forged by his experience of life. Their respective career would probably have been different if they hadn’t met. This is when the School of Pont-Aven appeared: with this group of artists willing to change things, who shared ideas and were looking for new techniques. 

Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard

Paul Gauguin ended up by gaving up on impressionism and, along with Emile Bernard, developed a new pictorial theory called “synthetism”.

By using swatches of colours and by delimiting shapes, they started to get rid of details in order to get back to the very essence of the subject.


Paul Gauguin and Paul Sérusier

The autumn of the same year, Paul Gauguin also met the young realist painter, Paul Sérusier, who showed him a new just achieved study of ferns.

The following day, Paul Gauguin invited him to the Bois d’Amour to show him his theory on synthetism.

Gauguin’s painting lesson to Sérusier

Gauguin’s last stays in Pont-Aven

Paul Gauguin came back for the third time in Pont-Aven in 1889, from June to October.

He then made there a brief stop in 1890 during which he had the opportunity to meet Willumsen and Maxime Maufra. 

His last visit in Pont-Aven was in 1894. He choosed to remain faithful to Marie Jeanne by staying at the Gloanec hotel, her new establishment.