La Cathédrale d’Auxerre, 1907

by Gustave Loiseau

P.O.A.

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DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 25.5 x 21.3 inches (64.8 x 54.1 cms)
SIGNATURE: Signed lower left
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

This work will be included in the forthcoming Gustave Loiseau catalogue raisonne currently being prepared by Didier Imbert

Catalogue No: 5408 Categories: ,

The strong structure and free brush strokes of La Cathédrale d’Auxerre reveal the techniques the artist learned first-hand from Gauguin as well as his debt to Sisley and Pissarro. In 1890, after a period of pointillist experimentation, Loiseau moved to Pont-Aven where he re-found his pure landscape ideal painting in a Post-Impressionist manner directly from nature. He had a particular interest in the depiction of water within a landscape, exemplified by this painting. With a contract from Durand-Ruel, Loiseau was free to travel extensively in France, painting in Burgundy – as presented here in Auxerre’s Gothic tour de force – in the Dordogne, Dieppe and on the banks of the Seine.

Loiseau painted the Seine as it ran through Paris, Herblay, Marly-le-Roi and Triel as well as its tributaries, especially the Yonne from Auxerre onwards. His canvases reveal an interest in depicting the effects of rain, frost, fog, morning mist and overcast skies with the clouds filtering the rays of sun. In order to create a more melancholy landscape he always avoided the intense and vibrant light found in the work of the Impressionists.

Private Collection, United Kingdom;
Private Collection, United States

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Gustave Loiseau’s parents were butcher shop owners who moved to Paris after he was born. Gustave became an apprentice to a decorator friend of the family and his parents, recognizing that he was unlikely to change his mind about his future sold their business and retired to Pontoise. Pontoise near Paris was important in French painting at the time, having been extensively depicted by Pissarro and Cezanne.

In 1887 Loiseau’s inheritance from his grandmother enabled him to give up his job and devote his life to painting. Moving to Montmartre, he enrolled for one year at the École des Arts-Décoratifs to study life-drawing, until an argument with his teacher prompted him to withdraw. Departing from the École des Arts-Décoratifs, he reconnected with painter Fernand Just Quignon, whose apartment Loiseau worked as a decorator. He then became a pupil in Quignon’s studio. In 1890 he befriended the myriad of artists now known as the Pont-Aven School, most importantly Paul Gauguin, as well as Maxime Maufra and Emile Bernard. This school focused on bold usages of colour and the painting of Symbolist subjects.

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