ALEXANDRE LOUIS JACOB
Alexandre Louis Jacob (1876-1972) was born in Paris. He undertook his formal artistic training at the Académie des Beaux-Arts with Eugene Claude (1841–1923). Jacob lived just outside Paris in Asnières-sur-Seine, situated on the banks of the river Seine. The Seine and the rural countryside around this area is the subject of much of Jacob's landscapes. Jacob is best known for his atmospheric and luminous landscapes. He gained his rare understanding and love for nature through studied inspection, transferring his observations skillfully on to canvas. His masterful evocation of light, atmosphere, colour and sense of place are remarkable and have a true ability to transport the viewer to the very banks of the River Seine and River Marne where Jacob would patiently wait, paintbrush poised to capture his unique visions of the French countryside.
Throughout his career, it was the endless skies of the French landscape that appealed to Jacob. The horizon sits in the lower third of his compositions, with the focus on fleeting clouds above, fringed with luminous light. The vast open skies create a sense of calm and contemplation, punctuated by elongated poplar trees that rise from below. Jacob was a master at capturing the French landscape as it subtly changed between the seasons. In autumn, his paintings contain a golden aura, in winter, a soft creamy light diffuses across the landscape with hues of pinks and blues reflected in snow on the river banks and his depictions of springtime resonate with the crisp morning light. Jacob preferred to paint in the quiet moments after a storm had passed, and each of his landscapes have a unique atmosphere of calm and tranquility, achieved by the still watery reflections in the foreground. Jacob debuted at the Paris Salon of 1899. He was awarded the Hors Concours at the Salon of 1908 at the Exposition Annuelle des Beaux-Arts and his work was exhibited annually at both the Salon d'Automne and the prestigious Salon d'Hiver, for which he gained numerous awards and distinctions which led to his election as a member of the Jury of the Paris Salon. Along with his close friend Édouard Léon Cortès, Jacob was a member of L'Union des Beaux-Arts de Lagny, formed in 1926 with fellow artists including Paul Emil Colin, Henri Lebasque, Frédéric Levé, Maurice Monnot, Charles Pavil and Emile Prodhon. Herbert Fuller, of Gladwell & Company, London, first came across Jacob's work in the Paris Salon after the Second World War, and it was at this point that Jacob's work began to attract the international clientele of this historic art gallery in the City of London. Initially Jacob was represented by Galerie Haussmann in Paris, but as his popularity grew, Gladwell & Company acquired work directly from the artist from the early 1960's until Jacob's death in 1972.
Jacob's work has featured in numerous exhibitions in France, South America, United States and throughout Europe. His paintings have been acquired by the French Government, the City of Paris, The Department Seine and the Conseil General de la Seine. Jacob's work also features in many distinguished private collections and museums across Europe, including Troyes, St. Etienne, Fougeres, Paris, St. Nazair and St. Quentin. Since Jacob's death, three generations of the Fuller family of Gladwell & Patterson have continued to place Jacob's illuminating oil paintings in illustrious private collections worldwide. In recent years Jacob's paintings have risen in popularity. Anthony Fuller of Gladwell & Patterson is currently preparing a Catalogue Raisonné of his work. Jacob's Awards and Honours 1908, First Prize, Salon Des Artists Français 1911, Prix Raigecourt, Salon Des Artistes Français. 1914, Gold Medal, Paris Salon. 1934, Prix Meurad 1934, Gold Medal, Société d'Aart, Sciences et Lettres. 1934, Gold Medal, Exhibition at Armieres. 1937, Gold Medal, International Exhibition of Paris. 1948, Honourable Medal, Exhibition Bois Colombes (Seine) 1914, Elected “Officier De L'instruction Publique” 1957, Elected A Knight of The Legion Of Honour. Jacob was also a member of The Société des Artistes Français, The French Water Colour Society, The Society of Fine Arts of Lagny, The Federation of Artists, The Society of French Landscape Painters, And The Committee of The Salon d'Hiver.
“My father, Herbert Fuller, found Alexandre-Louis Jacob exhibiting at the Paris Salon in the late 1940s and our gallery continues to acquire the best examples of his work to this very day. During this extended period of time we have been fortunate enough to acquire at least seventeen of his largest canvases, mainly still in their original reverse hand-carved French frames, and most of which won him major awards at the Paris Salon. He was a very small man in stature. He had a very calm and collected life and everything was organised and I think you can see that in his paintings as well…. He gives me a restful feel every time I look at any of his pictures. I feel the secret of Jacob’s success was simply finding a subject matter and depicting it in delicate tones and hues, which have continued to exert universal appeal ever since. Whether it is the old man punting across the water, or the cart horses pulling the log cart, his refined colouring always focuses one’s eye on the central subject. Jacob’s death in 1972 aged ninety-six was a great loss to French artistic circles, but his work lives on through his ethereal landscapes.” - Anthony Fuller, 2018
Alexandre Jacobs tranquil and subtle landscapes show a masterful evocation of light, atmosphere and colour, transporting the viewer into the peaceful countryside of rural France. He gained an understanding and love for nature through studied inspection, transferring his unique observations skilfully onto canvas. Making his name in the French Salons of the 1920s and 30s, his immense talent was immediately recognised by his peers and then by the establishment.