Private Collection, United Kingdom
Galien-Laloue is widely known and collected as a School of Paris or Belle Epoque painter. He is best known for his idyllic Parisian street scenes, painted in a similar style to those by Luigi Loir and Edouard Cortes. They are often works on paper done with watercolor and gouache, though he is known to have worked in a multitude of media including pen, pencil and ink, and oil. These street scenes have continued to be highly sought after since their popularity during Laloue’s own lifetime.
Born in Paris in 1854, Galien-Laloue studied under his father Charles Laloue, who was a painter and theatre set designer. Galien-Laloue made his debut at the Salon des Artistes Françaises in 1877, and continued to exhibit there throughout his life. His well-executed paintings of Paris were highly popular at the time, and well-regarded by the traditional art establishment.
However, in secret, Galien-Laloue produced many other works that did not match his usual style. He was under exclusive contract to certain galleries in Paris, who dictated that he must not make works that departed from what he was known for. This not only meant that Galien-Laloue was prevented from taking out certain commissions and exhibiting at other galleries, but that he couldn’t always paint what he wanted. For this reason, he often painted under aliases. This allowed him to paint something other than commercially saleable street scenes and to have artistic freedom. An alias gave him the ability to sell his more serious works and to make sales outside his dealer’s gallery. He has been attributed with between five and ten aliases, and the variety of subject matter that he focused on is astoundingly varied. He was known to be a skilled and facile draftsman, which is probably what allowed him to take on so many different painting styles.