Achille Laugé France
8-29-1861 Arzens, FRA – 6-2-1944 Cailhau, FRABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Achille Laugé began his artistic training at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse, where he met his lifelong friend the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, before entering the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1882. Enrolled in the studio of the painter Alexandre Cabanel, Laugé soon met and befriended another sculptor, Aristide Maillol, who he introduced to Bourdelle and with whom he later shared a studio.
Two years later, in 1886, Achille Laugé left Paris and returned to live and work in the South of France for the remainder of his long career. Laugé’s early adoption of the pointilliste technique in his paintings has led to some debate as to its sources. While two childhood friends of the artist, the journalist Achille Astré and the influential politician Albert Sarraut, both claimed that Laugé developed the distinctive divisionist technique on his own, without any knowledge of the work of Georges Seurat and his circle, this must be seen as highly unlikely.
During Achille Laugé’s stay in Paris between 1881 and 1886 he can hardly have failed to come into contact with the avant-garde work of the Neo-Impressionists. At the Salon des Indépendants of 1886, for example, Seurat’s great painting of A Sunday Afternoon on the Grande Jatte was exhibited to immense popular interest and critical attention, alongside works by Paul Signac, Henri-Edmond Cross and other Neo-Impressionist artists. Laugé only rarely exhibited his work. In 1894 he sent five paintings – two still lives and three portraits – to the Salon des Indépendants, while the same year he was included in a group exhibition in Toulouse, alongside Bonnard, Denis, Valloton, Vuillard, Toulouse-Lautrec, Serusier and others. These contributions to public exhibitions were, however, more the exception than the rule. Laugé’s paintings were repeatedly rejected by the Salon juries in Paris.
In 1902, however, he was again included in an exhibition in Toulouse, where among several paintings was a Paysage de la Gardie. Around 1905, to allow himself the opportunity of working directly from nature, Laugé built a small caravan, with a skylight and large windows, from which he would paint the Languedoc countryside. Laugé received almost no public commissions, apart from several designs for tapestries to be produced by the Gobelins factory. Achille Laugé almost never left the Midi, and only rarely exhibited his paintings in any of the Parisian art galleries. His relative isolation meant that Laugé’s work remained largely unknown to most of the scholars, critics and collectors of his time. Much the same is true today, although paintings by the artist now hang in the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Musée d’Orsay and the Musée du Louvre in Paris alongside Neo-Impressionist works by Seurat and Signac.
Art Movement: Post Impressionism
Influences: Alexandre Cabanel, Jean-Paul Laurens