In December 1892, Paul painted Mata Mua (Autrefois) after realizing he won't find the lost paradise he has been looking for. The painting, which measures sixty-nine centimetres wide and ninety-one centimetres high, has its title in the far end left corner. The Mata Mua painting portrays a Tahitian landscape made of a tree covering the centre of the configuration. Two Maori women are sitting in the forefront, one playing the flute as the other listens. Behind them is a statue of Hina (Goddess of the moon), around which other three women are dancing, two dressed in white dresses while the other dressed in blue. The background reveals a pink mountain that rises above the trees.

The unique and weird thing about the painting is that it represents Gauguin's fiction, where the tale of Hina is part of the imagination. Similarly, the statue, which wouldn't have existed though other sources would have enthused it, is part of the scene. The wild painter's unique features were attainable by his roughness in painting, particularly using simple brushwork and oil on canvas. The scene in the painting is his own imagination which leaves us wondering how he came up with the statue of Hina. The title of the work, "autrefois", which means "in olden times" wistfully refers to a splendid past whose essence for Paul and other artists is shown in primitive art.

While many artists influenced Gaugin in his career, Gustave Arosa, his legal guardian, played a major role in Paul's artistic career. He had various art collections at his disposal from amazing artists like Camille Corot and Eugene Delacroix. These great artists inspired him and looking at their works; he took a step and started painting. He painted together with Emile Schuffenecker, a fellow stockbroker. Besides, a lot of Gaugin's influences are from art purchases from popular artists like Pissaro, Monet, Sisley and Manet. While other great artists also influenced him, many artists were inspired by Gaugin's work. Some include Henri Matisse, Arthur Frank Mathews, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, among others. He had a great influence on art through his work and his influence is still felt even today.