Saturday, July 13, 2013



La Place Saint-Michel

Eugène Galien-Laloue (1854–1941) was a French artist of French-Italian parents and was born in Paris on December 11, 1854. He was a populariser of street scenes, usually painted in autumn or winter. His paintings of the early 1900s accurately represent the era in which he lived: a happy, bustling Paris, la Belle Époque, with horse-drawn carriages, trolley cars and its first omnibuses. Galien-Laloue's works are valued not only for their contribution to 20th century art, but for the actual history, which they document. His work can be seen at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Louvier; Musée des Beaux-Arts, La Rochelle; Mulhouse, France.

Petit palais

Place de Chatalet

Le Grand Boulevard
Images from callaghan-finepaintings

Some artists or writers are content to have a pseudonym so as to disguise their work. Eugène Galien Laloue was particularly adept at establishing several identities, since over the course of his career he worked under three pseudonyms: J. Lievin – after a soldier he met during the Franco-Prussian war, E. Galiany – an Italianized version of his own names, and L. Dupuy – after Dupuy Léon who lived in his same area. While these are three confirmed names that he used, there is the possibility that he used other names as well. Even his name “Galien” is questionable, since on occasion he spelled it with one “l” and on his birth certificate it is spelled “Gallien”. Why the artist went to such great lengths to perplex audiences and historians is the question that remains to be answered. From the beginning of his career and perhaps spurred by his travels along the railway lines, Galien Laloue became interested in showing the natural environment. While not uncommon, it was perhaps an interesting theme for an artist who did not necessarily seek to connect with nature and while painting en plein-air, he “hated to walk in any mud and even a blade of grass bothered him.”
(Noë Willer, Eugène Galien-Laloue: 1854-1941, New York: Alexander Kahan, 1999, pg. 16)
He had a reclusive personality, which also may explain the reasons behind his numerous pseudonyms. He preferred the solitariness of his studio and thus did not paint his works entirely on-site. Unlike many other artists as well, he did not like to travel and many of his views of other cities or countries were inspired by postcards and photographs, an increasing tendency with many artists as photography became a more established method of use. Noë Willer further elaborates upon the unique personality of this artist: He was not eccentric but always conservative, practically a royalist. He was obsessed with his painting. In his private life he found simplicity alluring: he married three sisters, one after the other (beginning with the youngest and ending with the oldest). They had all lived next door to him. He lived a monastic life. All worldly pursuits, games, alcohol, the pleasure of the flesh were not for him. Riding his bicycle to places in Paris to paint was his only physical exercise.

Porte St. Martin

Le Grand Boulevard 2

A typical Galien-Laloue painting depicts sidewalks and avenues crowded with people or tourists mingling before the capital's monuments. He also painted the landscapes of Normandy and Seine-et-Marne, as well as military scenes he was commissioned to produce in 1914. The Republic of France selected Galien-Laloue to work as a 'war artist,' both during the Franco-Prussian War and World War I, chiefly in watercolor. "He was originally trained as an architect, but did not enjoy the promotional aspects of the profession. Under the tutelage of Charles Laloue, he quickly gained fame as an artist, specializing in watercolor and gouache."

The Quays Gouache on paper

Village, an Autumn Evening
Oil on canvas Images from

La Bourse Paris

"Galien-Laloue mastered the depiction of the Belle Epoque Paris street scene, much in the vein of Jean Beraud (1849-1936) or James Jacques Tissot (1836-1902). He portrayed Paris at its best: irresistible shops, boulevards and "quartiers". With delicate line and dramatic lighting, Galien-Laloue documented the daily bustle of one of the world’s most beautiful cities, Paris." "Galien Laloue continued to paint until 1940, when he broke the arm with which he held his brush...He had become very popular with both French and especially American artists and continued to paint the same scenes of Paris throughout his career. He died in his daughter’s house in Chérence, where they had taken refuge at the beginning of the Second World War, on April 18th, 1941."

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