Gauguin’s Daughter, Aline Gauguin
- September 24, 2014
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Paul Gauguin had only one daughter with his wife Mette, Aline. She was Gauguin’s second child with Mette, born December 24, 1877 and named after his mother, Aline Maria Chazal. Aline was reportedly one of Gauguin’s two favorite children.
In 1893, Gauguin created a little scrapbook for Aline, which he filled with press clippings, prints, sketches and personal reflections. Unfortunately, Aline died before Gauguin was able to give her the book.
In January of 1897, at the young age of 19, Aline suffered pneumonia and died. Gauguin did not receive the news until April. From Tahiti, Gauguin wrote to Daniel de Monfreid,
“Your letter arrived at the same time as a short but dreadful letter from my wife. She informed me bluntly of the death of my daughter, who was snatched from us in just a few days by a fatal attack of pneumonia. This news did not distress me at all, hardened as I have been for a long time to suffering; and then each day, as thought kept piling in, the wound opened up, becoming deeper and deeper, until now I am completely overwhelmed…”
Gauguin had only spent about 7 days with Aline over the previous ten years. He blamed Mette and sent her a series of hurtful letters filled with blame. In May, the land he was renting was sold and he was forced to abandon the house he was building and move to a different house nearby. Over the summer he faced financial difficulties as well as increasingly poor health and began to fixate on his daughter’s death. By year’s end, he had reached a breaking point and claimed to have attempted suicide by drinking arsenic.
Other images by Paul Gauguin of his daughter, Aline Gauguin: