Gouache / signed lower left19 x 31 cm
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Eugène Galien Laloue (1854-1941)
The young Eugène Galien was just 16 years old when his father died. He was the oldest of nine boys and had to stop his studies. His mother got him a position in a solicitor’s office. But Eugène Galien chose to leave this job and, lying about his age, signed up for the war in 1870. When he returned, his mind was made up: the only thing he was passionate about was painting. Of a solitary nature, he worked with persistence and rigour, qualities which were rewarded with his being employed by the railways to draw the rail routes from Paris to the provincial stations. He took this opportunity to paint the surrounding countryside. He chose the season in order to give a tonality to the sky, to the trees and to the light, then he focused in on his impressions targeting a specific time of day. Finally, he animated the scene with people from the area, and did not hesitate to ask members of his family or acquaintances to pose. It was rare that any of his works were entirely carried out at the scene itself. He much preferred the austere atmosphere of his studio, finding this a more suitable place to evoke the atmosphere of the streets in front of his easel. He devoted himself entirely to painting, going round from place to place on his bicycle to sketch areas of Paris. Eugène Galien Laloue had a very good technique for oil painting, but because it was not easy to use and took a long time to dry, he often used gouache. In fact it took him two days to paint a gouache and two weeks to paint an oil painting. Overall he executed about five thousand gouaches and a thousand oil paintings, under a number of different names. He always lived well from his painting, selling practically everything in advance thanks to the contracts he had with traders of painting who assured him an allowance, thus sheltering him from material needs.