Emmanuel De La VILLEON ( 1858 / 1944 )
View of Yffiniac in Brittany.
Oil on canvas signed lower left.
15,35 x 22,04 in
Emmanuel de la Villéon (1858-1944) was one of the last great impressionist painters. He was born in Fougères, rue de la Forêt, almost by chance, at the home of his grandmother, Madame de la Hubaudière.
This great lord with admirable clear eyes, with a fine mouth framing a kind face, with a long elegant silhouette, gave rhythm to his life with his brush. He found his sunny hours in painting. And his immense talent, undisputed by the critics, deserves to be better known by the public, lover of beauty.
La Villéon is the painter of harmony, of quiet joy, of melancholy with a calm gaze, of balance, of serenity or of peasant fatality where even misery and suffering are erased by the slow rhythm of the seasons. All is charm in his paintings.
La Villéon is especially the painter of this mysterious universe that is the forest. His elegance, his delicacy, and his genius of colors impregnate his graceful trees, straight or curved, always ready to conquer the sky. Aristocrat to the point of his brush, he dreams in the incredible mess of foliage.
Emmanuel de la Villéon, a smiling magician of color, is one of the most endearing painters of French Impressionism.
Emmanuel de la VILLEON holds an eminent place among those marginal artists that we know late, creators in their own right who modestly and deliberately kept away from the noise of the great Parisian events.
Fundamentally independent, this solitary painter remains attached to his land, to nature - and never loses sight of the everyday. He remains faithful, by choice and by temperament, to all the values of classicism. Wisdom which does not prevent a lively curiosity towards certain aesthetic conquests of his contemporaries. [...]
His dense and tight workmanship conceals audacities that do not shock the eye of the layman but that others could not imitate without the resources of a consummate craft, which he refined and perfected until his last years. Instinctively, he now dominates his ardor, his desire to restore the motif: the space he gives us to see is a harmony of subtly interwoven volumes, of warm and flamboyant tones that a light light comes to exalt. Even in his last painting, signed at the age of eighty-six, Emmanuel de la Villéon knew how to render to us, with a hand that remained strangely firm, the quality of his emotion in front of what he called "the divine creations and the splendid wonders" of nature.
Born into an old aristocratic Breton family, Emmanuel de La Villéon dedicated his life to painting. In 1880, he left his native town for Paris, where he was introduced to plein air painting by his friends Alfred Roll and Emmanuel Damoye. Fascinated by this way of painting, he settled wherever his daily walks took him: near a path, on the edge of a pond, a river or in a field. He either painted directly on the canvas or made various sketches, noting his impressions, colors and other information that he would need later in his studio. From the 1910's onwards, he used small wooden, cardboard or canvas panels, postcard size, to make studies on the spot. He called them his "fonds de boîte". So expressive, some of these works are true masterpieces in their own right.
Emmanuel de La Villéon loved to travel. He mainly stayed with members of his family, in Brittany with his brother, in Normandy with his cousin, in Switzerland with his parents-in-law or in the Cher with his sister-in-law. From the 1920s on, he regularly stayed with each of his three daughters, in Mainz, Germany, Grenoble and Yonville, France, among others. In 1889, his first trip abroad, to Holland, made him discover a radiant light, with changing atmospheres. His palette became lighter and brighter. He excluded black in favor of a mixture of colors. Between 1900 and 1936, he owned a house in Salvar, in the Nièvre. The views are numerous and La Villéon lived there mainly from 1915. In 1905, he stayed in the Hautes-Pyrénées and then, in 1921, on the Côte d'Azur. He took the opportunity to transform the usual apple trees into flamboyant palm trees. Everywhere he went, a landscape came to life under his brushes.
His main concern is the light. How to retranscribe its shimmering on the waters of a lake or the sea, its rays that pierce through the tree trunks of a forest or the heat that emanates from a plain heated by the summer sun? To answer this vital need he adopts the impressionist touch. These small touches of pure color, quickly juxtaposed next to each other, allow him to capture the atmosphere of a fleeting moment. La Villéon works a lot around the same view, painted at different times of the day, or even at different seasons (see our series on the plains of Vaud). The landscapes under the snow are for him a unique opportunity to play with the shades of blue, pink and purple that the sun reflects on the ice crystals.
Largely inspired by Impressionism, Emmanuel de La Villéon nevertheless remained independent and interested in the different styles of his time. Presenting his work in most of the Parisian exhibitions, he was well aware of the new research of his colleagues. Also, in the mid 1890's, he produced magnificent trees inspired by the cross-hatched touch of Van Gogh. In 1909, he founded, with other artists, the "Société Moderne". There he rubbed shoulders with impressionists, expressionists but also symbolists such as Odilon Redon or Maurice Chabas. Inspired by the latter, he will, from 1910, and in parallel to his more traditional works, develop his poetic imagination around Breton tales and legends. Strange landscapes with dark colors, where the trees are tormented, twisted and covered with moss, plunge the spectator in an almost ghostly atmosphere.
From 1890, E. de La Villéon exhibited in various salons (Salon des Indépendants, Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts known as the National, Salon des Inquiets, Union Libérale des Artistes Français, Société Moderne, Salon d'Automne, Salon des Tuileries) and galleries in Paris (Georges Petit, Durand-Ruel, La Boétie, Ruaz among others). He also presented his works in the provinces (in Vannes, Rennes, Bourges, Angers, Bordeaux, Cosne, Grenoble...), and abroad (in 1918 in Canada and the United States, in 1925 in Copenhagen and in 1927 in Japan). Most of the time he exhibited with a group of artists (the Inquiets, the Eclectic, the Bretons de Paris, Aux tendances nouvelles). Nevertheless, he organized several times his own private exhibitions (1896, two in 1922, 1927, 1937 and 1943).
Highly appreciated by critics, Henry Eon (a chronicler of avant-garde magazines), said of him in 1904 in a review of La Nationale:
"The work of Monsieur de la Villéon, however much he admires Monsieur Claude Monet, is not directly attached to any school. It remains personal and for those who have followed its development..., his exhibition today is the most brilliant success of a stubborn will overcoming, without formulas, the worst difficulties.
Recognized by his peers, in 1898 he was awarded a silver medal at the International Exhibition in Vincennes and an honorary diploma at the 6th Exhibition of Work of the City of Paris. In 1902, he was named an associate of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts and, in 1940, he became a member.
In 1943, he was 85 years old. He organized, at the La Boétie gallery, a large and final exhibition illustrating his entire life and work.
Width : 56 cm
Height : 39 cm
Category : Paintings
Style : Modern Art
Period : 20th century
Price : 5800 €
Go to seller's website