His life became a series of social woes. This uncompromising Christian rejects the Catholic teaching and liturgy but desires to interpret the mystery of life. At the time of the Christ Jaune, 1889, he surrounds the religious symbols with themes from modern life including his own self portrait.
His voluntary exile in Polynesia brings him a synthesis of Christianity and animism. From then Gauguin's art is no more exclusively Christian. Painted in Tahiti in 1897-1898, D'où venons-nous Qui sommes-nous Où allons-nous, which is conceived by the artist as his ultimate masterpiece, does not refer to Western religions.
On May 5 in New York, Sotheby's sells a Nativité, oil on canvas 44 x 62 cm painted in 1902, lot 33 estimated $ 4M.
A Polynesian mother has just given birth to a child in a narrow room looking like a stable. She is assisted by a group of women. The youngest women are naked or almost naked.
But this scene is not only exotic. The radiant halo around the child's head leaves no doubt that this nativity is divine and the praying attitude of the three old women behind the group is Christian.