|Edouard Manet |
French painter, whose work inspired the impressionist style, but who refused to so label his own work. His far-reaching influence on French painting and the general development of modern art was due to his portrayal of everyday subject matter; his use of broad, simple color areas; and a vivid, summary brush technique.
In 1891, ruined and in debt, Gauguin sailed for the South Seas to escape European civilization and "everything that is artificial and conventional." Except for one visit to France from 1893 to 1895, he remained in the Tropics for the rest of his life, first in Tahiti and later in the Marquesas Islands. The essential characteristics of his style changed little in the South Seas; he retained the qualities of expressive color, denial of perspective, and thick, flat forms. Under the influence of the tropical setting and Polynesian culture, however, Gauguin's paintings became more powerful, while the subject matter became more distinctive, the scale larger, and the compositions more simplified. His subjects ranged from scenes of ordinary life, such as Tahitian Women, or On the Beach (1891, Musee d'Orsay, Paris), to brooding scenes of superstitious dread, such as Spirit of the Dead Watching (1892, Albright-Knox Art Gallery). His masterpiece was the monumental allegory Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (1897, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), which he painted shortly before his failed suicide attempt. A modest stipend from a Parisian art dealer sustained him until his death at Atuona in the Marquesas on May 9, 1903.
Gauguin's bold experiments in coloring led directly to the 20th-century fauvist style in modern art. His strong modeling influenced the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch and the later expressionist school.
"Manet, Edouard," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2001
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