Eugène Galien-Laloue

Eugène Galien-Laloue was a French artist specializing in Parisian street scenes, landscapes and military scenes. Born on December 11, 1854, in Montmartre, France, Galien-Laloue was the oldest of nine children. He had very little known art training and never received any formal schooling though he does list M.C. Laloue, who could be his father, as a teacher. At the age of 16, his father, Charles, passed away. Feeling it was his duty to support the family, he left traditional school to work as a notary. Soon afterward he decided to enlist in the military during the Franco-Prussian war, faking his name and age to meet the requirements. It was during this time that he decided to become an artist, sketching the countryside and scenes he experienced during his military travels. In 1874, at the end of the war, Galien-Laloue was employed by the French Railway as an illustrator and utilized that time sketching landscapes. He exhibited for the first time in 1876 at the Museum of Reims, showing Le quai aux fleurs par la neige (Flower Market Along the Seine Under the Snow). He preferred painting gouaches as they were easier and quicker to produce as he was rumored to be mostly concerned about the sale of his art. His landscapes were often created from postcards or photographs as he disliked travel or being in nature and preferred isolation. He also painted Parisian landscapes with the architecture being the focus rather than the individuals and was known to paint under the pseudonyms of J. Lievin, E. Galiany or L. Dupuy.

He continued to show at several venues until 1889 when he took a five-year sabbatical after his daughter’s birth. In 1904, he began focusing his paintings on war scenes during the start of World War I. These scenes showed more emotion than his previous landscapes, which was possibly due to his own experiences in the military. He continued to paint until he broke his arm, a year before his death in 1941. Despite his reclusive personality, Galien-Laloue played a large role in bringing into popularity the artistry of the everyday street life in a city as well as creating a pictorial history of Parisian architecture.