1865 – Paris – 1937
Gustave Loiseau is one of the most poetic and sensitive of the Post-Impressionists. His work shows the influence of Impressionist masters such as Alfred Sisley and Camille Pissarro and he took advice from Paul Gauguin, whilst being a great admirer of Corot. Loiseau experimented with Pointillism, but developed his own style. He is considered to be a pure landscape artist, painting from direct observation of nature in a manner which is reminiscent of Claude Monet.
Loiseau was born in Paris, the son of a butcher from Pontoise. He was apprenticed in 1880 to a house painter and then to a decorator, a job which he despised, but which aroused his interest in art. Loiseau discovered the countryside of Pontoise when his parents retired there in 1881; a legacy from his grandmother in 1887 allowed him to devote his life to landscape painting.
Loiseau studied at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs and in the studio of the landscape painter Fernand Quignon. Loiseau lived at La Maison du Trappeur in the Rue Ravignon, Montmartre, which was later to become famous as the Bateau-Lavoir. He became acquainted with Jean-Louis Forain and Adolphe Willette, but his shy, nature-loving personality had little in common with the raucous bohemians of the Parisian art scene. In 1890 he went to Pont-Aven, where he was befriended by Henry Moret and Maxime Maufra. Although working in a personal style, Loiseau’s paintings from this period show the influence of the Pont-Aven School in their diagonal compositions, shortened perspectives and anti-panoramic fields of view. Returning to Paris in 1891, Loiseau exhibited for the first time at the Fifth Exhibition of Impressionist and Symbolist Painters. He showed paintings at the gallery of Le Barc de Boutteville in Rue Le Pelletier, where two works were bought by the celebrated Rouen collector and friend of Monet, François Depeaux.
For much of his life Loiseau was based in Paris but travelled extensively through France, making repeated trips to Pont-Aven, where he was encouraged by Gauguin in 1894, to Normandy and to Pontoise. Described as ‘the historiographer of the Seine’, he also captured the shifting moods of the Oise and the Eure rivers and the Channel ports. Loiseau joined the Société des Artistes Indépendants in 1893. In 1897 he signed an agreement to sell most of his output to Paul Durand-Ruel, giving him the financial independence to travel more extensively. Loiseau divided his last years between Pontoise (where he is buried) and Paris, where he died in 1935.
The work of Gustave Loiseau is represented in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris; the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen; the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; the Marubeni Collection, Japan; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City.