Tucked into French Polynesia is Hiva Oa, the Marquesan island that French painter Paul Gauguin made his home 100 years ago. Remnants of Gauguin litter the remote settlement of 2,000 people, as do heaps of skulls left from its violent past. But today, Hiva Oa serves as a serene destination for modern escape artists, Matthew Link writes for Time.
The black-sand beaches and slow local life that captured the French painter’s imagination remain, as does his thatched “House of Bliss” and the grave where he wound up after 2 years of freewheeling relationships and syphilis. A museum boasts replicas of Gauguin’s island work and quotes from the stockbroker-turn-artist about “escaping to reach art” and “becoming part of a primitive culture.”