Paul Gaugin (1848–1903) was born in Paris and came to art slowly. After a brief stint as a pilot’s assistant and two years in the navy, he became a stockbroker at 23, and lived quite comfortably until the crash of 1882. He’d begun to paint a few years prior, and soon immersed himself full time in experimentation. His appreciation of folk art and Japanese prints, as well as his conversations with impressionists Pissaro and Cezanne, helped him develop a unique post-impressionist style that, soon after, deeply influenced early Picasso and Matisse. At the end of his life, he moved to the Philippines, where his work assumed a troubling colonial gaze, particularly toward women. Gaugin was never easy to be around. He often spoke of van Gogh, who’d threatened him with a razor. Later that same day, van Gogh severed his own ear.