Born in Paris on June 7th, 1848, Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin spent part of his childhood in Lima, Peru, then returned to France with his mother. He worked as a foreign exchange agent before becoming a painter at the age of 36. He left his wife and children in Denmark|
to devote himself entirely to his passion. He left Paris, moved to Rouen and went regularly to Brittany, where he met Emile Bernard, with whom he created the Pont-Aven school.
Directed in 1889, a few months before his first departure for Tahiti in 1891, the Portrait of the Artist (The Yellow Christ) is a true manifesto. It is actually a portrait with
a triple face, in which the artist reveals different facets of his personality. Then misunderstood, abandoned by his wife who returned to Denmark with their children,
Gauguin struggles to get an official mission to settle in the colonies. In the central figure, Gauguin's fixed gaze to the spectator expresses the weight of his difficulties, but
also his determination to continue his artistic struggle.
He represents behind him two more of his works, realized the year before, which are confronted from an aesthetic and symbolic point of view. On the left is the yellow Christ, an image of suffering sublimated, to which Gauguin lends his own features. But the arm extended by Christ above the painter's head also evokes a protective gesture. The yellow of this painting, fetish color of the artist, is opposed to the red of the self-portrait pot in
the shape of a grotesque head, placed on the right, on a shelf. This anthropomorphic pot that Gauguin himself described as a "head of Gauguin the wild" bears the trace of the great fire that has petrified the matter. With his grimacing mask and his primitive style, he embodies the suffering and wild character of Gauguin's personality.
Ill, he returned to Paris in 1893, where he met the painter Maurice Denis. However, disappointed by the reception of the French capital, where Pissarro accused him of
having "plundered the savages of Oceania", he left Marseille for Polynesia on July 3rd, 1895. He left Tahiti in 1901 for 'Atuona, (Hiva ‘Oa Island), in the Marquesas
archipelago. He encountered difficulties with the local administration and died there on May 8th, 1903. His grave is in the cemetery of Atuona, in the Marquesas islands, French Polynesia.
Paul Gauguin is a post-impressionist painter, he is considered one of the major French painters of the nineteenth century, and one of the most important precursors of modern art.
The Polynesian Post wishes to pay tribute to him by issuing a stamp featuring this "Self portrait with yellow christ" simultaneously proposed in Polynesia, and Macau, as part of the international asian philatelic exhibition of MACAU 2018.