Artist's Biography & Works For Sale
Eugéne Galien-Laloue was born in Montmartre, Paris, the oldest of nine children to French-Italian parents. He was renowned for his reclusive nature and worked under several pseudonyms, the three confirmed are J. Lievin, after a French soldier he met during the Franco-Prussian war; E. Galiany, an Italianized version of his name; and L. Dupuy, after Dupuy Léon who lived in his same area.
Though the genres of his paintings vary, all of Galien-Laloue's work was generally painted in his characteristic cool palette, which he painted in gouache and watercolour. His detailed scenes of Paris are perhaps his most famous and due to his own architectural interests, Galien-Laloue’s Parisian paintings focus more on the architectural aspects of the city. Offering a detailed record of late nineteenth century and early twentieth century Paris capturing a happy, bustling, ‘La Belle Époque’ Paris.
The artist also painted natural landscapes, documenting life along the canals and banks of the sea and rivers, showing a particular interest in maritime subjects. He captured these scenes in brighter months, contrasting his scenes of the capital which he painted in Autumn/Winter weather.
Then in 1914 he was commissioned to produce war scenes, having been selected to be ‘war artist’ by French officials. He painted scenes in the ruined towns behind the front line and continued to depict Paris through wartime. His own military experience undoubtedly inspired his paintings, as in these scenes his figures are given a much more prominent role than in either his Parisian or landscape paintings. He paints soldiers in the midst of battle paying close attention to detail in their costumes and actions.
He was a proficient draughtsman from his initial tutelage from his set designer father, Charles LaLoue and from primarily training as an architect. At sixteen, however, his father died and he started working for a local notary. This was not for long though, as in 1871 he had a nationalistic urge to enlist in the army, faking his name to do so. He served in the Franco-Prussian war until its end in 1871 and immediately after decided he wanted to be a painter. For someone initially so eager to sign up for the military and turn to painting so quickly, must have been a reaction to his experiences in the war – a way to forget and escape what he had seen.
In 1874 he was employed by the French Railway lines as an illustrator. This served as part of his art training, as whilst illustrating the rail track that had just been laid from Paris to the provinces, he concurrently began painting the surrounding landscapes as well. Galien-Laloue’s work was extremely popular during his lifetime. In 1878 he was exhibiting at The Salon and continued to do so throughout his life. During the first two decades of the twentieth century he also exhibited at Dijon, Oréans, Versailles, Roubaix, Saint Etienne, Bordeux, Monte Carlo, Hautecoeur and among several other cities.
When World War One broke out he was exempt from military service because he had volunteered for the Franco-Prussian war and was too old to take part. Instead being commissioned to paint the war. Galien-Laloue continued to paint until 1940, when he broke the arm he used to paint with. He then died in 1941 in his daughter’s house in Chérence, where they had taken refuge at the outbreak of World War two.