The friendship of Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin Anticipation The anticipation that Paul Gauguin had, when he decided to visitand live with Vincent Van Gogh at the Yellow House in Arles, was that he would find a more primitive and uncharted way of life where his lifestyle cold fit, having struggled to keep up with the lavish life that his fellow painters and the rich were living in Paris (Phelan, n.p. ). Paris had become completely unbearable for Gauguin, and the depression he was going through could only have been matched by that of Van Gogh, who was equally an unsuccessful painter trying to make ends meet.
Paul Gauguin was recommended to visit Arles by his other friend, Jean-Jacques Rousseau who had promised him that he will find a society that was uncorrupted by wealth and civilization, where he could experience primitive conditions of happiness (Silverman, n.p. ). The other anticipation that Gauguin had was that he could establish a more intimate painting connection with Van Gogh, and out of it they could bring their painting talent together to create other a successful painting empire, like the two sunflowers painting that Van Gogh had created.
In this respect, Gauguin anticipated that he could tap on his friend’s talent and make some impressive paintings during this vacation (Stone, 22). The last of his anticipation was that he would continue building on his friendship with Van Gogh and his brother Theo, owing to the fact that Van Gogh had invited and waited for Gauguin for long, while Theo was the one who encouraged him to visit the Yellow House (Phelan, n.p. ). Expectations The expectations that Paul Gauguin had while visiting Van Gogh was that out of their friendship and combined efforts, success for the two relatively new yet older artists would spark a more beautiful life for the two of them, owing the fact that both had shared a similarity in living a depressed life previously (Stone, 42).
When he arrived at Van Gogh’s house, things turned out to be different, since the anticipated happiness and the cordial relationship they sought to create did not come about. The friendly connections lasted a little while, and then arguments between them started drawing them apart, as they could neither agree on the locations where they should paint, nor the mode of painting to adapt.
While Van Gogh preferred painting outdoors and from viewing nature as his major inspiration, Paul Gauguin contrasted this view, insisting that they ought to develop their paintings from imagination (Phelan, n.p. ). Thus, after a few weeks of living together, the situation in the house had become more stressful and aggravated to the point that the two painters could no longer see eye-to-eye.
The problem would become even more whenever Paul Gauguin raised the topic of leaving the Yellow House, since Van Gogh did not want to be left alone, despite the fact that they did not have a friendly relationship anymore (Silverman, n.p. ). Nevertheless, Gauguin kept expecting that they would mend their relationship, and continue working together productively, but the situation did not change until the time Gauguin was leaving Arles. Disappointments Paul Gauguin went to Arles expecting to find a new form of happiness, serenity and rest from the discomfort of life that he had experienced in Paris, most especially since he did not have enough money to support his living there (Stone, 36).
However, the whole visit turned out to be a great disappointment for both painters, as they would not agree on virtually anything related to their painting work, such that the outcome was a more depressed life for both. The anticipated outcome that the two painters would build a painting empire that would flourish eventually turned out to be a great regret for Gauguin, who was very optimistic of the positive impact the visit to Arles would have on his life (Phelan, n.p. ).
But the greatest disappointment for Gauguin came when it eventually became clear that the heightened argument between him and Van Gogh was not merely based on natural disagreements, but based on the fact that Van Gogh’s mental health was deteriorating. On the evening of December 23, 1888, the two artists had an argument which culminated in Van Gogh slashing his earlobe with a razor he was carrying, setting the stage for Paul Gauguin to leave Arles, while at the same time being the beginning of the end of the physical contact between the two painters (Phelan, n.p. ).
Thus, the Arles visit was a double tragedy for Paul Gauguin, who never experienced the happiness and success he went to search, while at the same time came out in constrained terms with Van Gogh. The two painters did not meet again face to face, but kept their correspondence through mails, until the death of Van Gogh. Works Cited Phelan, Joseph. Tragedy and Triumph at Arles: Van Gogh and Gauguin.
Art Encyclopedia, November, 2001. Web. November 7, 2014 < http: //www. artcyclopedia. com/feature-2001-11.html> Silverman, Debora. Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Search for Sacred Art. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, November 2000. Web. November 7, 2014 < http: //www. artbabyart. com/VanGogh_Gauguin2.htm> Stone, Irving. Dear Theo: The Autobiography of Vincent van Gogh. New York: Plume, 1995. Van Gogh, Vincent. “Letter to Paul Gauguin. ” Written 22 or 23 January 1889 in Arles. Translated by Robert Harrison, edited by Robert Harrison, number VG. Web. November 7, 2014
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