Rue de Clignancourt, soleil, le quatorze juillet.

 

Painted circa 1925

signed ‘G Loiseau (lower right)

25½” x 21½”, 65 x 54 cms

Oil on Canvas


Provenance

Galerie Serret-Fabiani, Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Private Collection, Los Angeles; acquired from the above in 1989.

Auction; Sotheby’s, New York, 10 May 2016, Lot 106.

Private Collection, USA; acquired at the above sale.

Gladwell & Patterson; acquired in 2018.

This work will be included in the forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné being prepared by Didier Imbert.


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 urban scenes by Gustave Loiseau. 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 Loiseau’s handling of paint and through his ability to capture the mood and atmosphere of his subject.

Loiseau painted this view of the Rue de Clignancourt frequently between 1924 and 1925 in order to explore the changes of light and atmosphere. The practice of “series paintings” emerged in conjunction with the growing preference among the Impressionist artists to work directly from nature and to work outside, en plein-air, and was brought to its extreme by Monet in his paintings of Haystacks, Poplars and Rouen Cathedral of the 1890s. Monet’s practice, of moving from canvas to canvas and working with the moving light throughout the day, inspired many followers of Impressionism. Following in Monet’s footsteps, Loiseau’s most notable series paintings are of poplars on the banks of the river l’Eure, the cliffs of Yport, and the Clignanourt series, regarded as some of his most accomplished work of his career.

The remarkable scope and variety of the Rue de Clignancourt series reveals Loiseau’s approach to the systematic exploration of a series of views of the same subject that came about in the latter part of his artistic career. Focused upon a single compositional device, the artist thoroughly investigated the different atmospheric conditions of the street. Painted from a balcony or window, the high view point enabled Loiseau to capture the dramatic perspective of the buildings of the Rue de Clignancourt as they gradually disappeared into the distance. In this series, Loiseau captured changing advertising billboards and shifting patterns of crowds and vehicles, revealing his focus was not only on the effects of weather and light but also on the atmosphere created by the crowds and passers-by.

The majority of Loiseau’s paintings of the Rue de Clignancourt depict an ordinary day in 1920’s Paris. People sit outside cafes or go about their daily lives, carefully depicted by a mass of rapid brushstrokes in the foreground and along the pavements. The bright colours of vehicles stand out amongst the passers-by and we see the occasional horse-pulled cart moving across the road. These paintings more acutely focus on the weather conditions and Loiseau captures the differences in light and temperature with a profound skill.

In contrast, Loiseau’s rare depictions of the Rue de Clignancourt on the 14th July, ‘La Fête Nationale’ or Bastille Day, provide an explosion of colour, movement and atmosphere. The only other known version of the Rue de Clignancourt on the 14th July now forms part of the permanent collection of the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid. 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. The high view point allowed Loiseau to depict the mingling 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.

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.

If you’re interested in learning more about “Rue de Clignancourt, soleil, le quatorze juillet” by Gustave Loiseau please contact us.

 

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