c. 1891 | Polynesia

Natural Resources

Paul Gauguin lives differently.

I am far, far away from the prisons that European houses are.

A Maori hut does not separate man from life, from space, from the infinite…. In the meantime I felt myself very lonely here. 

The inhabitants of the district and I mutually watched each other, and the distance between us remained the same. By the second day I had exhausted my provisions. What to do? I had imagined that with money I would be able to find all that was necessary for life. I was deceived. Once beyond the threshold of the city, we must turn to Nature in order to live. She is rich, she is generous, she refuses to no one who will ask his share of her treasures of which she has inexhaustible reserves in the trees, in the mountains, in the sea. But one must know how to climb the tall trees, how to go into the mountains, in order to return weighed down with heavy booty. One must know how to catch fish, and how to dive to tear loose the shellfish so firmly attached to stones at the bottom of the sea. One must know how, one must be able to do things.


Paul Gauguin

From Noa Noa. The painter’s failed experiment with communal living in a cottage at Arles with Vincent van Gogh persuaded him, at the age of thirty-two, to seek a less troubled approach to “the infinite” among the natives of Polynesia.