Oil on canvas
32 x 25½ in.
Certificate of Authenticity from Roy Brindley & Selina Baring Maclennan. To be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the works of Gaston La Touche – Inventory no. 741
Provenance: Private collection, France
Gaston La Touche was an artist who had a significant critical and commercial success in his lifetime. He was a friend of Edouard Manet and of Emile Zola. He was born in Saint- Cloud near Paris in 1854 and was reputed to have posed as the man wearing a top hat in Manet’s Bar aux Folies Bergeres.
At the time that La Touche began painting, Classicism was giving way to Realism in art. The Realist movement proposed that artists should paint subjects from modern life in all its facets. La Touche was encouraged in this by Emile Zola, the Realist writer, and his early paintings were crafted in this style.
As a young man La Touche had asked Edouard Manet to take him on as his official pupil, but Manet declined, replying that he had nothing to teach him and that ‘La Touche should paint what he saw, remembering that there is no black or white in painting but only the colours of the rainbow’. Another artist who was a major influence on La Touche was Felix Bracquemond who exhibited at the Impressionist exhibitions. At this time La Touche painted grim scenes from the life of the miners, which were in sharp contrast to his later Belle Époque paintings, which featured fireworks, theatrical subjects and society balls all of which were painted in a style which he made his own. Later he destroyed many of his early paintings.
Bibliography: Barling Maclennan, Selina Gaston Latouche, A Painter of Belle Époque Dreams, ACC Woodridge 2009
Kendal, Richard, Degas: Beyond Impressionism, National Gallery Publication