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Moving Abroad
Expat Writers and Artists

Moving Abroad
  • Picasso (by )
  • Provenca ; Poems Selected from Personae,... (by )
  • Three Lives (by )
  • Paul Gauguin the Calm Madman (by )
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (by )
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Immigration continues to be a hot topic in cities worldwide. A variety of factors—war, economic opportunity, religious freedom, etc.—drive it. According to information released by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 244 million people lived abroad in 2015—an increase of 71 million since 2000.

Top destinations for immigration include the U.S., Germany, and the U.K. A recent article in The Telegraph, published in London, states that “rates of immigration are increasing in the world—with immigrants consisting of 12.1 percent of the world’s population in 2005, compared to 13.2 percent in 2015.” 

Not only have social and political factors motivated people to flee their homelands over the course of history, but so have literature and the arts served as inspiration for many. 
In A Moveable Feast, American novelist, short story writer, and journalist Ernest Hemingway and his wife relocated to Paris. While there, Hemingway befriended prominent writers and artists such as Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, and James Joyce. He was also acquainted with artists Joan Miro and Pablo Picasso.

In 1891, French-born artist Paul Gauguin left Europe for Tahiti. He was disappointed to discover that the island rather westernized by French colonial authorities. After fleeing Tahiti in 1893, Gauguin briefly returned to France to show his work, but then returned to French Polynesia. In 1901, he moved to the Marquesas Islands, where he passed away in 1903. 

Throughout most of his life, Spanish painter and sculptor Juan Gris lived and worked in France. In 1906, he moved to Paris and became well acquainted with Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, and Fernand Léger. In Paris, Gris fostered a close affiliation and deep respect for Picasso and contributed to the development of Cubism. 

Following the success of The Great Gatsby, American writer and novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda went through some challenging times. Due to alcoholism and mental health issues, their lives began to decline. In the 1920s, the duo spent their time moving back and forth between both Delaware and France. 

Finally, there’s L’Ecole de Paris, or “School of Paris,” a group of French and émigré artists who worked in the City of Light between 1900 and the 1950s. From 1900 to 1940, Paris lured many artists from around the globe. The expatriates created works in the styles of Post-Impressionism, Cubism, and Fauvism. Among these artists were Picasso, Marc Chagall, Amedeo Modigliani, and Piet Mondrian. The School of Paris moniker also extended to an informal association of classical composers who hailed from Central and Eastern Europe.

For more reading on these artists and writers, read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, Three Lives by Gertrude Stein, Picasso by Maurice Raynal, Provenca by Ezra Pound, and Paul Gauguin the Calm Madman by Beril Becker.

By Regina Molaro
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