1861-1944 | French
Almond Trees in Spring
Signed "A. Laugé" (lower right)
Oil on canvas
This Neo-Impressionist landscape by the French artist Achille Laugé captures an orchard in late spring in his celebrated, highly modern style. The work displays a thick impasto thanks to the artist's distinctive technique of applying his paint in quick dabs, a characteristic of his later works. One of the foremost painters of the Post-Impressionist period, Laugé’s works are beloved for his sensitivity to light, shade and tone, and his mastery of medium is clearly on display in Almond Trees in Spring. The light blue of the sky and the more muted colors of the field, along with the cottony white and pink tones of the blossoming trees create a scenic and calm composition.
Born in 1861 to wealthy farmers, he moved to Toulouse at the age of 17 to study pharmacy. At this time, he also enrolled part-time at the school of the Beaux-Arts, where he befriended the artist Bourdelle. Three years later, he moved to Paris, where he studied under the famous masters Alexandre Cabandel and Aristide Maillol, making his debut at the Salon in 1884. Like many other artists of his generation, Laugé eventually rejected the conservative ideals of this teacher, falling under the Post-Impressionist influence of George Seurat. By 1888, his landscapes became assiduous experiments in complementary colors and light on canvas. He exhibited three paintings at the Salon des Indépendants in 1894, as well as with the Nabis that same year. In addition, Laugé held several one-man shows in Paris, Toulouse and Perpignan from 1907 to 1930.
It was after his departure from Paris that Laugé developed his divisionist technique, following the lead of Seurat and the Pointillists. Although Laugé never adopted Seurat’s scientific attitude, his interest in the primacy and division of color resulted in work with a vivid, translucent palette. From 1888 until about 1896, Laugé composed his pictures with small points of color. At the end of the century, he abandoned the dots and dabs and painted his landscapes, portraits and still-lives with thin, systematically placed strokes resembling crosshatching. After 1905, he applied his pigments more freely, with enlarged strokes and thick impasto that brought him closer to a traditional impressionist technique whilst maintaining his ability to paint the translucence of southern light. Today, his exceptional works can be found in museums throughout France, including the Musée D'Orsay in Paris.
Canvas: 21" high x 28 1/2" wide
Frame: 32 3/4" high x 40" wide
Galleris Maurice Sternberg, Chicago
Private collection, Texas, 1975