Tuesday, June 8, 2010

French Artist With Many Pseudonyms, Galien-Laloue

My favorite 19th century French artist of rural landscapes is Eugene Galien-Laloue, 1854-1941.
His life, both personal and professional, is intriquing.
Galien-Laloue was quite the solitary man and rode a bicycle to paint his country scenes as he hated walking in mud and even grass. The most intriguing aspect of his personal life....he married each of 3 sisters. The sisters were his neighbors and he married the youngest sister first. After her death, he then 5 years later married the middle sister...and yes, after her death, while in his seventies he married the oldest sister.

In his professional life, he continues his intrigue....for he painted with many names/signatures.
It has been said by those that studied his life...no other artist has worked with so many pseudonyms.

He signed the above rural landscape, "Lievin"....possibly honoring a soldier friend, Jacques, that was from the town of Lievin.
One of my happy Marburger clients took this one home to Dallas.

In addition to landscapes, Galien-Laloue also painted marines...often inspired by postcards and photographs.
The above marine has another of his popular signatures, "L. Dupuy", possibly used to honor an artist friend, Leon Dupuy, almost 60 years older than Galien-Laloue. They both lived in Fontainbleau and enjoyed painting rural landscapes.

Galien-Laloue did sign his birth name on his Paris street scenes....yet another subject that was so different in nature to the rural landscapes and marines. For the Paris scenes, he often chose to paint in gouache rather than oil as gouache dried easier and he could complete a work in two days rather than two weeks in oil.
Painting techniques were influenced by his background...his father had been a set designer for theatre.... the architecture was painted precise with attention to season, sky, lighting, and time of day. Sometimes, he even used relatives to help animate the scenes.
As he painted Paris street life for over 50 years, his paintings tell a colorful story of the history of Paris.
The Paris scenes are extremely valued....the above scene of the Grand Boulevards (pencil and watercolor on card) sold for $90,000 at auction in 2007.
Another in gouache sold for $173,000 in 2004.
Even his less important Paris pieces usually demand prices $30,000-$50,000.

Galien-Laloue continued painting in his eighties....painting constantly and only stopping to eat.


  1. I always learns something when I read your posts, Nance. The "back story" is always so interesting. I'll bet authentication could be an issue with so many psuedonymns. I got tickled at the marriage story...he was so busy painting, it was probably just easier to marry the girls next door! Fun post.

  2. Thank you Sally, When he married the first time, there is the customary family photo...including his wife's sisters. So you see all 3 wives with him in 1 photo !

  3. I've just discovered your blog and I love it. It is full of inspiring and interesting thought. It is amazing to see how many painters used several names

  4. Thanks Melanie for your kind comments. I visted your blog...wonderful. I will check back to see what you found at the Salon Cote Sud...how fabulous and special to be a part.

  5. What a wonderful post. This artist is very intriguing, life, work and all! I love a great excentic personality with the work to match!
    I believe I might have seen some of his work, but did not know him by name. Beautiful scenes. So much talent.
    My oldest son is named Eugen, so I feel connected right away....;)

    Have a wonderful weekend!


  6. Thanks Victoria, As he painted for 60 years, there are many works....5000 gouache plus his oils of rural landscapes and marine scenes.
    Once you see one of his rural landscapes, it is easy to spot his hand....the same with his Paris scenes.
    I so enjoy your blog and loved your red chairs!

  7. I love Paris and Paris street life, and I too think that Galien-Laloue perhaps made the best paintings from that category.
    The reason for his many pseudonyms, wasn't caused by multiple personality disorder, he had a contract with an art gallery and everything he produced in addition, had to be under another name.
    It wasn't just that he would ride a bicycle to avoid getting muddy, most of his works from Paris was made after photos, he preferred to work in his atelier.
    I also get the feeling that he had found out what people liked, and painted that. He used famous landmarks in Paris, it's nearly always a tram coming, a flower cart or market, half a car coming in left corner, or going in the right corner.
    But he was successful, even though he painted so many similar, he found buyers to them. And they are still very popular.

    Steinar Siiger Larsen


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