Laloue Pseudonyms   Leave a comment

The Pseudonymous Monsieur Galien-Laloue

We will likely never know why Galien-Laloue signed his work with so many different names. Working under a nom-de-plume is a rare but not unknown practice in art and literature.  Usually painters or writers do so because they do not want to have one genre of work confused with something else they do.  There are times that artists do not want their more commercial subjects confused with their “serious” art.  However, in the case of Galien-Laloue, the work he exhibited in the Salon were the Parisian scenes that we know so well, which were also the paintings that put bread on the table.  So there must have been another motivation, perhaps a contractual relationship with a particular dealer that he did not wish to jeopardize. Or perhaps the time-consuming street scenes sold so well under his name that he wanted to do less complicated works that he could sell for less money.  Another clue could be the painter’s notoriously quarrelsome nature. Did he simply find it easier to work prolifically under several different names, selling the works through brokers so that he could avoid the difficulty with dealing with too many people?

In any event, Galien-Laloue began signing some of his works with other names early in his career and continued the practice for many years.  The first pseudonym that Galien-Laloue began to use was “Dupuy,” which he seems to have begun signing to Barbizon-influenced works about 1880.  The initial motivation may have been to use “Dupuy” in order to distinguish them from the Parisian views that he was already exhibiting under his given name.  The Dupuy works appear to be small plein-air sketches that would have only taken the painter a short time to paint and most of these were rendered in oils, in the darker, richer palette of the Barbizon movement.  They are “loose” painterly works of rivers and sometimes of sheep, quite similar to the paintings of Charles Emil Jacque (1813-1894), an older, first-generation Barbizon School painter that Galien-Laloue was said to have been acquainted with.  The Dupuy paintings were often of subjects he found on the Seine and Marne rivers in villages like Melun, Nemours, Fontenay-sus-Bois or Montreil-sur-Loing.

Another name that Galien-Laloue used to sign his paintings in the 1880s was Liévin. He often employed that pseudonym for scenes of the rural countryside, farmyards and harbor views.  He in fact painted some of his most beautiful light-filled landscapes under the Liévin signature.  Galiany was yet another signature that was used by Galien-Laloue, in this case simply an Italianization of his name perhaps even the surname of one of his ancestors.  The Galiany signature was put on the same type of harbor scenes and landscapes that he often signed the other pseudonyms to and his own given name as well.  There were also paintings, but perhaps fewer than were signed with the other signatures with the Dumoutier and Juliany names.  One conclusion that I have reached is that most of these works with the other signatures seem to date back to the first half of the artsist’s career, before his course seemed to be overwhelmingly set on Parisian scenes.

Years after Galien-Laloues death, his granddaughter, Madame Andre, began to document his paintings and mark all of the works that were found in his atelier with the different signatures with her estate stamp.  It was Madame Andre and the researcher Noé Willer who began to work to document all the pseudonyms Galien-Laloue used and which frustrate us today.  In most cases, the Galien-Laloues that are signed with other names do not command the same prices as works with his own signature.  The fact that he used these other signatures is well documented today and of course, there is no corresponding record of other painters with biographies of their own with these other surnames, so the mystery of the Barbizon-influenced scenes signed by L. Dupuy, Liévin, E. Galiany, Dumoutier and Juliany has been solved: all of these painters were the single, indefatigable artist Eugène Galien-Laloue of the Montmartre.  However, his motivations for using so many names for the same subjects will probably remain one of those mysteries the art world so loves.

What has been attempted here in this modest essay is to create a more thoughtful and thorough biography on E. Galien Laloue, one that places him in the context of his time and the dynamic city of Paris in which he lived.  If you have questions or comments, please feel free to sign in and post your response.

Do You Have a E. Galien Laloue You Need To Have Appraised or Evaluated?

"L'église de la Madeleine sur la neige" by E. Galien-Laloue


Posted 15/06/2011 by Jeffrey Morseburg

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