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Tiki: Tiki Painter


Paul Gauguin (1848 - 1903)


Paul Gauguin was born in 1848 and lived in Peru during his childhood. Then he joined the Navy as a student officer and scored the seas of the world between 1868 and 1871, before settling in Paris where he worked in a bank and married a Danish, Mette-Sophie Gad who gave him three children.
In 1874 he bought paintings made by impressionists and started to paint himself : that was the first time he met art. No sooner, his work became more and more prized and he started organizing his first exhibitions in 1876. After a stock market crash in 1882, he decided to dedicate exclusively to his art. The following years were particularly difficult and troubled : after living in Rouen, Copenhaguen and Pont-Aven, he came back in Paris where he met Vincent Van Gogh.The year 1888 marked a turning point in his work : he came back to Pont Aven and adopted a new style, Symbolism. Then he spent three months in Provence with his friend Van Gogh before leaving France, forever he said.
When he arrived in Tahiti in 1891, he settled in Mataiea with a 14-year old vahine named Taha'amana. The following period was very productive and he painted his first works signed in Tahitian : Te nave nave fenua (Delicious Earth), Manao tupapau (The spirit of the watching deads) et Arearea (Joyfulness).
But it was not long before he thought to leave Tahiti. He fled poverty and loneliness and came back to Paris in 1893 in order to sell his works. Unfortunatly, his return was a failure: financial problems, loss of a trial and, above all, a fight in Concarneau where he broke his leg. Desillusioned by the Occidental life, he left again for Tahiti in July 1895.
He won't be happier in Tahiti than in France but made some of his main work during this period : Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?
After a suicide attempt and a stay in the psychatric hospital of Vaiami in Papeete, he decided in 1901 to settle in the Marquesas, in Hiva Oa where he built his "House of Pleasure". Thought he was sick, he spent his two last years of life to defend the inhabitants of Atuona against the colonial administration. He kept painting and sculpting until he died on May, 8th 1903. Paul Gauguin lies in Atuona Calvary cemetry.


Henri Matisse (1869 - 1954)


In 1930, Henri Matisse left San Francisco for Tahiti because of the light, he said : "I will go to the islands, under the tropics, to see the night and the dawn light that must have an other density. The Pacific light is a deep gold tumbler in which one looks. I remember that when I arrived, I was disappionted but then, step by step, it was beautiful, beautiful, beautiful !"
During two and a half months he lived in Tahiti and above all in the Tuamotu islands, in Fakarava and Apataki where he studied, took notes and prepared his future work.
Actually Matisse made only one painting in Polynesia, but he was really inspired and influenced by what he had seen -as we can see in his work after 1930- and more particularly in his famous collage inspired by tifaifai.


Jacques Boullaire (1893 - 1976)


Jacques Boullaire arrived for the first time in Polynesia in 1937 with his wife Anne Hervé, also painter herself . As she was born in Tahiti and had lived in the Tuamotu for 25 years, she guided him and made him discover Polynesian way of life.

When he arrived, Boullaire was amazed by the violence of the light but, step by step, he got accustomed to the halftoneless colors that he finally used in his paintings. Besides, he was completely seduced by the form of Polynesian women - rounded and supple - that will quickly become his favourite theme.