La Seine a Herblay

by Gustave Loiseau

P.O.A.

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 21.25 x 28.75 in./ 53.3 x 71.1 cms
SIGNATURE: Signed lower right: G. Loiseau,1906
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

Certificate by Didier IMBERT, Nov. 21, 2007

Catalogue No: 1457 Categories: ,

La Seine à Herblay,été is a beautiful work by Loiseau painted at the peak of his artistic powers. He has masterly depicted the clouded sky and abundant foliage with the use of delicate feathered brushstrokes, reminiscent of Claude Monet and the Impressionists. The built up impasto creates a distinction between land, water and sky as well as recreating the texture of the lily pads, trees and flowers. Loiseau took an interest in depicting the effect of rain, frost, fog, morning mist and overcast skies with the clouds filtering the rays of the sun. The heavily clouded sky and the muted colour palette shows this interest in the changing weather. This creates the semblance of the coming of rain and makes the scene more sombre, despite being painted in summer. This painting, despite the bright, warm colours of the flowers and bright sunlight punctuates the scene, it shows Loiseu’s gradual move to see the beauty in melancholy landscapes.

Painted in 1906, Gustave Loiseau had by then achieved financial success thanks to a contract signed with Paris art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel in 1897; the same dealer who patronised Claude Monet and the other Impressionists. Indeed Monet stated that he and his fellow Impressionists ‘would have died of hunger’ without Durand-Ruel’s help. This financial freedom permitted Loiseau to travel and explore various landscapes. Loiseau often painted the Seine running through Paris, Marly-le-Roi, Triel and, like here, Herblay, and was a favoured theme to which he returned on many occasions. This picturesque village, just outside of Paris, inspired many of his peers, including Maximilien Luce whose own interpretation of the Seine at Herblay is in the Musée D’Orsay in Paris. Following the Seine on its course towards the English Channel, in those years Loiseau painted the most significant group of works of his career, gaining the title of ‘historiographer of the Seine’.

Provenance

Private Collection, United Kingdom;
Richard Green, London;
Private Collection, United States

 

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Biography

A great friend of the painters Maxime Maufra and Henry Moret, Loiseau belonged to the generation of young artists which the Impressionists recognised as the successors of their legacy.

 

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.

 

He first employed pointillist techniques and then re-found his pure landscape ideals – painting ‘en plein air’ – directly from nature. Loiseau developed a type of ‘cross-hatched’ technique, called ‘en treillis’ (latticework), which gives his paintings the supple, almost touchable quality he is known for.

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