Scene from Tahitian Life, 1896 (oil on canvas), Gauguin, Paul (1848-1903) / Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia / The Bridgeman Art Library
The discovery of Impressionist art had such a profound impact on Paul Gauguin’s that he left his successful stockbroker career and his family to pursue it. Living as the proverbial starving artist, he invented a style he coined “Synthetism” which became a Post-Impressionist form of modern art symbolized by nature through primitive subjects, massive simplified forms and bright color planes. Gauguin’s work exudes the feeling of escape from civilization. In fact, while in Tahiti he discovered the flat forms, vibrant colors and untamed nature of primitive art that became his signature style.