GUSTAVE LOISEAUFrench 1865 - 1935

GUSTAVE LOISEAUFrench 1865 - 1935

From 1897, when Gustave Loiseau received a commission from Paul Durand-Ruel, he spent much time travelling in the West of France – radiating outwards in circles from l'Ile de France and Saint-Cyr du Vaudreuil in l'Eure where he owned a house. During the first twenty years of the twentieth century he studied the cliffs and beaches of the Pays de Caux, Normandy, and in particular those at Yport, Dieppe, Les Petites-Dalles, Etretat, and Grainval.

This work is amongst the best of the series of studies that Loiseau made of the cliffs at Yport in 1924.

Loiseau was born in Paris in 1865. He was apprenticed to a decorator, a job he particularly disliked but his interest in art (especially landscape painting) grew when his parents moved back to their hometown of Pontoise in 1884. This town near Paris had an important place in French painting at the time, its environs having recently been depicted extensively by Pissarro and Cezanne, the former having a home there.

In 1887 Loiseau received a legacy from his grandmother which enabled him to give up his job as a decorator and devote his life to painting. His first teachers after a move to Paris included such illustrious names as Jean-Louis Forain, but he did not appreciate the more academic tendencies such artists promoted. It was not until a move to Pont-Aven in 1890 and his meeting with Henry Moret and Maxime Maufra that he found his style. He learnt a great deal first hand from Paul Gauguin, but his work also shows a debt to Sisley and Pissarro. After a period of pointillist experimentation he re-found his pure landscape ideals painting in a Post-Impressionist manner directly from nature.

He returned to Paris in 1891 where he began to exhibit his work, showing first at the Fifth Exhibition of Impressionist and Symbolist Painters. For the rest of his life he travelled extensively, painting in the Dordogne, Dieppe and on the banks of the Seine. He had a particular interest in the depiction of water within a landscape, of which our picture is a very fine example. It is also from his best period.

Loiseau also painted an important series of works of Paris, which form a fascinating development to the first Impressionist views of Monet and Pissarro. In these works he took a high viewpoint and concentrated on the contrast between the small figures below and the large buildings, often shown with obvious advertising hoardings.

Although he died in Paris in 1935, his last years were spent in Pontoise where his introduction to painting had begun.