Les Falaises de Puys, 1901

by Gustave Loiseau


DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 25.75 x 32.00 inches/65.40 x 81.28 cms
SIGNATURE: Signed ‘G Loiseau’ and dated lower right
MEDIUM: oil on canvas

Les Falaises de Puys, is an outstanding example of Gustave Loiseau’s work, depicting one of his most treasured subjects, the Normandy coast. The glittering sea and the rocky coastline are brilliantly evoked by Loiseau’s handling of paint, using his signature short sharp brushstrokes of broken colour.


Catalogue No: 4972 Categories: ,

Loiseau painted the Normandy shoreline throughout his career, in order to explore the changes of light and atmosphere. The practice of “series paintings” developed alongside the Impressionist preference to work outside or en plein air, and its chief proponent was the father of the Impressionists, Claude Monet. Monet’s practice, of switching from one painting to another and working with the moving light throughout the day, inspired many followers of Impressionism. Following in Monet’s footsteps, Loiseau’s most notable series paintings are regarded as some of his most accomplished work of his career.

From 1893, Gustave Loiseau exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris and he exhibited works at the Impressionist exhibitions of 1890 and 1896. This piece was painted just a few years after, when Loiseau was really coming into his own as an artist, moving away from a pure form of Impressionism and moving toward his ‘en trellis’ or cross-hatching which gives his paintings the supple, almost touchable quality he is known for.

It is a testament to the great quality of this work that it remained in the Durand- Ruel family until the early 1970s. Paul Durand-Ruel, the leading art collector and primary patron of the Impressionists, had put Loiseau under his contract in 1894. This success enabled the artist to travel extensively to discover different regions of France, spending summers in places such as Normandy, Brittany, and the Dordogne, and returning in winter to the Isle-de-France. His paintings are faithful witnesses of his travels. Painted in 1901, this work is from the same year of Loiseau’s first one-man show at the Galerie Durand-Ruel in Paris.


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 withdrhaw. 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.


Purchased from the artist by Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris;
Remaining in the Durand-Ruel family by decent until early 1970’s;
Private Collection, Germany;
Private Collection, United States

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