The First Electronic Church of America

S A I N T S   &   B I R T H D A Y   P A G E

June 7, 1997

       Saint Of The Day:

           Paul Gaugin,

the French post-impressionist painter, was born on this date in Paris in 1848. Gaugin's lush color, flat two-dimensional forms, and primitivistic subject matter helped form the basis of modern art. Gauguin's bold experiments led directly to the 20th-century Fauvist style in modern art, and his strong modeling influenced the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch and a school called expressionism. After an adventurous early life, including a 4-year stay in Peru with his family and a stint in the French navy, Gauguin became a successful Parisian stockbroker, settling into a comfortable bourgeois existence with his wife and five children. In 1874, after meeting the artist Camille Pissarro and viewing the first impressionist exhibition, he became a collector and amateur painter. From 1879 to 1896, he exhibited with the impressionists, and in 1883 he gave up his secure existence to devote himself to painting, abandoning his wife and his children, who, without adequate subsistence, were forced to return to her family. From 1886 to 1891 Gauguin lived mainly in rural Brittany, where he was the center of a small group of experimental painters known as the school of Pont-Aven. Under the influence of the painter Emile Bernard, Gauguin turned away from impressionism and adapted a less naturalistic style, which he called synthetism. He found his inspiration in primitive art, in medieval stained glass, and in Japanese prints; he was introduced to Japanese prints by the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh when he spent two months in Arles, in the south of France, in 1888. Gauguin's new style was characterized by the use of large flat areas of nonnaturalistic color, as in Yellow Christ, painted in 1889, and now the possession of the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, N.Y. In 1891, ruined and in debt, Gauguin sailed for the South Seas to escape European civilization and "everything that is artificial and conventional." Except for one visit to France, he remained in the Tropics for the rest of his life, first in Tahiti and later in the Marquesas Islands. The essential characteristics of his style changed little in the South Seas, retaining its archaic qualities of expressive color, denial of perspective, and thick, flat forms. Under the influence of the tropical setting and Polynesian culture, however, Gauguin's subject matter became more distinctive and his scale larger. His subjects ranged from scenes of ordinary life to brooding scenes of superstitious dread. His masterpiece was the monumental allegory Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (painted in 1897, and now seen at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston), which he painted shortly before attempting suicide. A modest stipend from a Parisian art dealer sustained him until his death at Atuana in Marquesas on May 9, 1903.

MODEL: In reverse, again. Do not model yourself on Paul Gaugin. He's not a saint, but a sinner, particularly in his disobedience to the first Commandment. Yes, according to the Torah, given us by Moses, we are not to put any other gods before the Creator of us all. And that's what Gaugin did. Gaugin worshipped his art. He made it a god, made it his be-all and end-all, to the definite disbenefit of his wife and children, who had every right to expect support from the man who had given them life, their father. For many of us, fatherhood is the most important role we have to perform. If we do it well, we will make lasting contributions for many generations to come. Coincidentally, today is National Family Day, set aside by an organization called KidsPeace, which promotes the idea that children grow up emotionally and physically strong when they are nurtured in good families. You can find KidsPeace on the Web at

Your Birthday Today:

June 7
Day of the Jester

Amusing, Contemporary, Enchanting

Unstable, Obstinate, Preoccupied

The latest. If you were born on June 7, you're always hip to what's popular and often set the trends for your friends or family. You may have your head in the clouds, but you have a talent for picking up the wishes and thoughts of others. Your easy confidence and charisma can cause you to get more responsibility than you really want. Ruled by the number 7 and the planet Neptune, you are adaptable and enjoy change and travel.

Superficial. If you want to get to the top and stay there, you must dig deeper and not just float along the surface of life. Material trappings such as clothes, cars and other toys show others how superficial you can be. Your relationships may never work out since you avoid intimacies and deep commitments. You may be oblivious to your shallow approach until a friend or family member shocks you with the news.

Move it, shake it. Not a very intellectual or verbal person, you communicate best through body language and enjoy seducing others to get what you want. Unfortunately , others may take you too seriously, and hearts may be broken.

Life of the party. You are fun and can act pretty wacky sometimes, just trying out new approaches to life to amuse yourself. You like surprising others and playing practical jokes to get a rise out of them, especially stuffy pretentious types.

Some advice: Don't look to impress or amuse others all the time. Entertain yourself. Study things in depth and get the most out of life. Don't be so frivolous with your flirtations. Others may take what you do and say seriously.

Also born on this day: Elizabeth Bowen (Irish novelist) Tal Farlow (jazz guitarist) Thurmon Munson (baseball Rookie of the Year, killed in plane crash) George Szell (conductor, Cleveland Orchestra) Rocky Graziano (middleweight champ) Beau Brummel (British dandy, fashion maven) Al Jolson (singer, songwriter, entertainer) Paul Gauguin (French post-impressionist painter, sculptor) Prince (singer, songwriter, entertainer) Tom Jones (singer, entertainer) Jessica Tandy (actress)