French artist Eugène Galien-Laloue is known for his naturalistic plein-air depictions of Normandy and Seine-et-Marne. But he also produced lively Parisian street scenes, which capture the effervescent delights of the bustling Belle Époque era. Born in Montmartre, Paris to French-Italian parents, he initially sought a career in the military before pursuing his artistic endeavours and, as such, lacked a formal academic background.
It seems he was predominantly self-taught and gained valuable early experience during a spell working for the French Railway as an illustrator. Part of his role involved depicting the track between Paris and the provinces and which enabled him to also study the surrounding countryside. Within two years, he was exhibiting his works at the Museum of Reims - he never looked back.
Here, in this typically loose and atmospheric depiction of Normandy, he captures a shimmering track after the rain as it winds between shop fronts and rustic homes. Daubs of clouds are rendered with a pinkish hue.
Eugène Galien-Laloue, Soirée en Normandie
While in this study of a market, the figures are enlivened with vivid colouring, movement and a sense of impressionistic spirit. The buildings beyond, a mere haze of broad marks. It’s signed ‘M. Lenoir’, one of his many pseudonyms.
Eugène Galien-Laloue, Marktszene
Galien-Laloue's works capture a sense of the energy emitted from the environment - whether that’s a river view surrounded by flora or a busy town overrun with figures. However, despite this, he was known as a reclusive character who led a monastic life devoid of worldly pleasures. His bicycle was the only indulgence he allowed himself. In addition, it’s said that he wasn’t a particular fan of wading through muddy fields to explore the great outdoors - preferring, instead, to find a suitably dry spot and stay there.
His dedication led to a solid career with numerous works shown at the illustrious Paris Salon - along with exhibitions in Versailles, Saint Etienne, Bordeaux, and Monte Carlo among others. Today he’s represented at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Louvier; Musée des Beaux-Arts, La Rochelle; and Mulhouse, France.
Born in Montmartre, Paris, France to Charles and Endoxie.
Enlisted in the French Army and subsequently fought in the Franco-Prussian War.
Worked as an illustrator for the French Railway.
Exhibited at the Museum of Reims.
Debuted at the Paris Salon with ‘En Normandie’ plus two works in gouache. He continued to exhibit regularly aside from a brief sabbatical in 1889.
Began working as a War Artist.
Ceased painting due to breaking his arm.
Died in Chérence, France.