Le 14 juillet, Place de la Bastille

by Gustave Loiseau


This painting shows the crowds gathering in Paris to celebrate the annual French Bastille Day, July 14th, which marks the storming of the Bastille fortress in 1789.

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 18.1 x 21.4 ins/ 46 x 54.4 cm
SIGNATURE: Signed ‘G. Loiseau’ (lower left)
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas



Catalogue No: 6345 Categories: , Tags: , , , ,

The energetic strokes of Loiseau’s brush create the impression of a long-exposure photography, with the many bodies busily moving amongst one another, blurring into each other. The entire painting reflects this excited energy, holistically; it appears as though even the trees and sky are a part of the jostling and celebrating.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Loiseau remained faithful to the Impressionist principles throughout his life. He developed a type of ‘cross-hatched’ technique as we can see here, called ‘en treillis’ (latticework), which gives his paintings the supple, almost touchable quality he is known for. His style is nevertheless rich and varied, in terms of subject matter as well as in style.

Time Period

Private Collection, France

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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.

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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