Gauguin's Paradise Lost
partners—reflected his self-devouring. The sediment of his passion was foxiness—an old dog’s fanciful attribute, or an old wolf’s. He rejoiced at the flocks that turned up at his door: “A chicken had come along.… When I say a chicken I am modest, for all the chickens arrived, and without any invitation.” On his bed he had carved an erotic scene, and he postured upon this final stage like a dying king—artist, genius, savage, gentleman—unbothered by the contempt of his subjects. In the extremity
previously were implied to have animalistic qualities emerge ultimately in frank animal form. Gauguin’s association of pigs with women may not have been totally Biblical in its origins; in Brittany pigs were treated as pets and as objects of fashion, led on leashes by well-dressed ladies on promenades. In Gauguin’s elaborate design for a plate, titled The Follies of Love, a pig is suspended from what appears to be a ribbon or scarf tied into a bow, reminiscent of a pig’s curled tail; in the
diminutive and sickly physique; out of his customary generosity, which was at this time sustaining Gauguin financially, de Haan vouchsafed to Gauguin Marie Henry’s maid. Gauguin’s ensuing spates of jealousy broke this odd, symbiotic friendship. When de Haan retreated to Paris he left Marie pregnant and Gauguin to fend for himself. No doubt this affair contributed to Gauguin’s interpretations of de Haan’s physiognomy. 83. Barbaric Tales. 1902. 84. Nirvana: Portrait of Jacob Meyer de Haan.
nature; why should they wish to impose on us duties similar to theirs? We don’t impose ours on them.” Gauguin’s penetration into native life undercut his status as an establishment artist; it is obvious that his hours in the street soon began to outnumber his hours on the balcony of the Cercle Militaire. Those who had expressed a readiness to have their portraits painted failed to follow up. An English cabinetmaker, Thomas Bambridge, was his only client; he had commissioned a portrait of his
May 25 a small party of Pont-Aven regulars, Seguin, O’Conor, Jordain, and Gauguin and their respective women, went on holiday to an obscure fishing village, Concarneau. The exotic assemblage attracted the attention of some of the local boys, who ran after them jeering, directing their most pointed jibes at Anna. Seguin turned on one of the rascals and attempted to pinch his ear, attracting the attention of the boy’s father, who rushed to his son’s defense. Gauguin’s latent gallantry was aroused;