Les Bords de L'Yonne
Les Bords de L'Yonne by Gustave Loiseau
Oil on Canvas
21¼" x 28¾" / 54cms x 73cms
Les Bords de l’Yonne, painted in 1908 at the pinnacle of Loiseau’s Impressionist manner, is a wonderful evocation of the French countryside. Loiseau is recorded as staying in the town of Auxerre on the River Yonne, a tributary to the Seine which flows south east from Paris into Burgundy, in 1902 and 1908. Masterful evocations of the town with its splendid Gothic cathedral and serene river views of the surrounding countryside dominated Loiseau’s output during his visits to the region.
Painted upstream from Auxerre, Les Bords de l’Yonne is devoid of any human or man-made presence, Loiseau instead focuses on the fleeting light effects and gentle
calm of the flowing river. The dappled reflections on the surface of the water are beautifully rendered in loose brushstrokes of thickly applied impasto oil paint. The layered impasto creates a distinction between land, water and sky as well as recreating the texture of the grasses in the foreground and the trees on the opposite bank.
The painting resonates with the atmospheric quality of a warm and breezy summers day. The broad expanse of the River Yonne in the foreground delights the senses as Loiseau superbly captures the rippling effect of a warm breeze blowing across the surface of the water. This still and serene landscape is animated by the movement of the clouds in the sky, painted with longer, looser brushstrokes than their reflections in the water below, evoking a calming ambiance. Loiseau masterly depicted the clouded sky and abundant foliage with the use of delicate feathered brushstrokes, reminiscent of Monet’s technique.
Les Bords de l’Yonne is a splendid example of Loiseau’s painting at the height of his Impressionistic period. The subject matter, composition and application of paint are all heavily indebted to the work of both Monet and Sisley. The heavy impasto and textured finish of Les Bords de l’Yonne reveals the very start of this development in Loiseau’s work. The painting’s rich surface, composed using spontaneous brushwork and areas of thickly applied paint, exemplifies Loiseau’s instinctive use of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist techniques.