Rue de Clignancourt, soleil, le quatorze juillet
Rue de Clignancourt, soleil, le quatorze juillet by Gustave Loiseau
26" x 21½" / 66cms x 55cms
Oil on canvas
Rue de Clignancourt, soleil, le quatorze juillet, painted in the mid 1920’s, is an outstanding work from one of the most important series of Loiseau’s urban views. The excitement and spectacle of the 14th of July celebrations along the bustling Rue de Clignancourt, on the outskirts of Montmatre, is brilliantly evoked by the artist’s handling of paint.
Loiseau painted this view of the Rue de Clignancourt, from the corner of the Boulevard de Rochechouart, frequently between 1924 and 1925 in order to explore the changes of light and atmosphere. This practice emerged in conjunction with the growing preference among artists to work directly from nature and to work outside, en plein-air, and was brought to its extreme by Claude Monet. Monet’s practice, of moving from canvas to canvas and working with the moving light throughout the day, caught on by many followers of Impressionism. Monet’s main dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, had established a group of painters that he considered were of sufficient talent to follow-on in the Impressionists’ footsteps. Gustave Loiseau was one of those painters. Since 1897, Loiseau had been under contract to Durand-Ruel, who had directly purchased much of Loiseau’s work. Durand-Ruel exhibited the works in Paris and consistently included Loiseau’s work on his travelling tours in America.
By the mid 1920’s, when the Rue de Clignancourt series was painted, Loiseau had already enjoyed considerable success both in Paris and abroad, where he was emerging as one of the few artists that were able to expand and seek new aspects of the Impressionist style. In his quest to create movement and light, Loiseau had developed a distinct style of the ‘cross hatching’ technique, referred to as
‘en treillis’ (latticework), thereby creating the supple and ephemeral quality for which his work is known. In Rue de Clignancourt, soleil, le quatorze juillet, Loiseau applied this unique technique to the crowds. A homogeneous and yet vibrating colour structure is created by his staccato-like brushwork, developed from the pointillism of Seurat and Signac. With a superbly confident use of brushstroke and colour, Loiseau creates a bustling and joyful mass of people, lending a vibrancy to the scene.
In Rue de Clignancourt, soleil, le quatorze juillet the viewer’s eye is drawn over the lively square and to the façades of the buildings illuminated by the sun. From a bird’s eye view we are able to witness the numerous crowds below, filling the streets as far as the eye can see. The red, white and blue of the Tricolour billows from every façade and there is the faintest hint of a parade through the streets. It is a painting full of energy and joy and where every inch of the canvas has been skillfully employed to seize the atmosphere of the day.