Gustave Loiseau - La Pointe du Jars, Cap Fréhel

Gustave Loiseau

La Pointe du Jars, Cap Fréhel

Oil on canvas: 28.7(h) x 36.1(w) in /

73(h) x 91.8(w) cm

Signed and dated lower left: G.Loiseau 1905

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GUSTAVE LOISEAU

1865 – Paris – 1935

 

La Pointe du Jars, Cap Fréhel

 

Signed and dated lower left: G.Loiseau 1905 Oil on canvas: 28 ¾ x 36 1/8 in / 73 x 91.8 cm

Frame size: 37 x 44 in / 94 x 111.8 cm

In a Louis XIV style composition frame

Provenance:

Sotheby’s New York, 15th November 1984, lot 332;

from whom acquired by a private collector, USA

 

To be included in the catalogue raisonné of the work of Gustave Loiseau being prepared by Monsieur Didier Imbert, inv. no.A1559

 

 

In the early 1890s Gustave Loiseau spent time in Pont-Aven, met Gauguin and formed a close friendship with Henry Moret and Maxime Maufra. Based intermittently in Paris and Moret-sur-Loing, Loiseau travelled constantly, often in company with Moret and Maufra. In his mature work he moved away from the Pont-Aven School towards a style that is a highly personal, poetic reinterpretation of the Impressionist landscapes pioneered by Monet and Sisley. From 1897 Loiseau was represented by Paul Durand-Ruel, who organized a number of successful exhibitions for him in Paris and promoted his work internationally.

 

Like Monet with his paintings of Fécamp and Etretat in the 1880s, Loiseau was fascinated by the rugged coastline of north-western France. Storm-lashed Brittany, with its distinctive, ancient Celtic culture, was a particular favourite. Loiseau painted in Brittany almost every year between 1903 and 1909. In 1905, the year that this painting was made, he executed a series of works exploring Cap Fréhel, the peninsula that juts into the sea west of Saint-Malo; the Pointe du Jars is a rocky headland on the west of the Cap. Didier Imbert comments: ‘the cliffs at Cap Fréhel, dominating a frequently stormy sea, offered [Loiseau] a constantly changing perspective corresponding to the height of the tide; charcoal and watercolour sketches preceded the final canvases known today as the series on the Pointe du Jars’[1].

 

This painting shows the Pointe du Jars on a sunny day at low tide, with the jagged rocks exposed and a melange of turquoise, emerald green and blue-green water giving a hypnotic sense of sunlit shallows and mysterious, weed-wreathed depths. Unlike Monet’s clifftop series where the old customs house gives a sense of human presence, there is no human element here, not even the frail, delicate fishing boats which appear in other Loiseau seascapes. The view omits the lighthouse further south on the peninsula.

 

 

GUSTAVE LOISEAU

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.

 

 

[1] Paris, Didier Imbert Fine Art, Gustave Loiseau (1865-1935), 1986, unpaginated essay.

ImpressionistGustave Loiseau