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Robert LALOUE, as a son of wealthy upper-class citizen, with enough capital at his disposal, never had to sell any of his artwork while he was alive. It seems that he wasn’t interested in selling and that he never did anything to promote his work.
We’re dealing here with a posthumous artwork of great purity and refreshing candor, that bears the mark of a certain evolution over time. At times, you can sense the influence of the pointillism movement around 1907, but his work clearly shows the NABIS influence in the flat, parallel composition without perspective. The initially soft tones become more intense, with an impressionist touch.

There is hardly any mention on the artworks themselves about the place where they were painted, but we’ve noticed that he had spent time in Châteaudun in 1914, in the Bretagne region in 1915, in Marseille, l’île d'Yeu in 1916, in Fontaine de Vaucluse, Venise, Martigues and its canal, Toulon, Avignon, Corse, that he had been painting the orange trees of Yugoslavia. Despite his handicap, he travelled along the routes of France and went to numerous regions: Ardèche, Allier Aude, Doubs, Isère, Marne, Oise, Tarn, Vendée, all these places saw Robert LALOUE’s easel for some short amount of time.
In the entire atelier, you will see 1924 watercolours (maximum size 27 x 38 cm), all recorded and numbered from 1 & 1924.


« Robert LALOUE was my Great-uncle, from my father side.

He was born in a wealthy, upper-class bourgeois family in 1880 as the elder of three children. His younger sister, Thérèse, was my grand-mother (1885-1933). His brother, whom we called «uncle Jean» or simply Jean was born twelve years after Robert and I had the pleasure to get to know him and see him regularly until 1967.

I didn’t have the chance to meet Robert LALOUE, who died on the 11th of september 1929, I was born on the 21st of november 1930 and was only three years old when my grandmother passed away. Everything that I know about Robert, I hold it from Jean, from my brother and my mother who was the only woman that the artist would welcome in his atelier when he was painting, he was very fond of my mother…

The reader can be reassured... I’ve always heard that Robert LALOUE was apparently homosexual. He was very «gentlemen like» with women, but he was holding a certain inferiority complex, having had an accident when he was younger that left him partly handicapped.
While running after a «public transport» he had missed the running board and had badly fractured this knee, falling on the pavement. We’re talking here about a horse-drawn car, but that were going at a fast speed at that time already. Medical surgery had not yet made the progress we are used to now and poor Robert was doomed to limp for the rest of his life.

I still remember very clearly his wooden folding seat, made out of a leather triangle fixed on wooden chair-legs that were interconnected through an axe. A leather strap allowed him to carry the seat on his shoulders on his numerous travels and he used this seat for painting all his outdoor watercolours. My father kept this object like a precious relic.
Even if Robert LALOUE died at a young age, at forty nine, he has been painting over 2000 watercolours. I’ve only seen a few oil paintings, always on thick cardboard. I don’t think that he ever painted on canvas.

I would like to mention here that Robert LALOUE was not only an artist-painter, but also a gifted musician. Not only did he compose melodies (both music and words), but he has been writing a few operas, opera-ballets, and lyrical dramas. Some of his work has been presented with great success, like "Les Fantômes" shown at the Marseille Opera in 1914 and "La Nuit Provencale" at the Nîmes Opera.
He had close friends within the music scene, I would for instance mention Camille Saint- Saens (who always signed his letters with «your most devoted») Georges Thill, Félix Litvinne... The list of artists would be too long, as I’m supposed to write here about Robert LALOUE’s painting artworks.

The reason why I possess today the majority of the watercolours painted by my Great- uncle is very simple. As I said previously, Robert LALOUE,- who never left the family home (apart from when he was traveling) as he didn’t have to earn his living-, always refused to sell any of his paintings.

Just like his brother and his sister, Robert LALOUE lived most of his life in his family home, which was located 28, Quai de Passy in the 16th arrondissement in Paris. To be more precise, Passy was at that time more considered like an outskirt of Paris; the front of the building was facing the berth and there was a large wooden park at the back.
I have at least twenty watercolours and three lithographies showing this homestead which today has been replaced by modern buildings. On one of these lithographies, you can identify an amusing anachronistic detail ; you’ll see the homestead, part of the park with the cock and hens and at the very back you can spot the Eiffel tower !

With a huge regret, the family had to leave the lively homestead following an expropriation request for public interest and moved to a mansion house at 7, Square d'Alboni.
Even at that time this type of property seizing existed, leaving the victims with a bitter pill to swallow !
In his new home Robert LALOUE was able to install his artist studio, ideally north-facing, which was some kind of small compensation.
He passed away in this new home a few years later. My father has always told me that if Robert LALOUE had been very prolific in his watercolours production and much less in oil paintings, it is because he was getting more worried about moving around and that he could in this case express his talent with this new technique in his studio.

I have also noticed that he had been painting a couple of watercolours showing the same site, with different angles and different lightening.
I also have different sketchbooks in my possession, mostly painted with a soft pencil. Some of these paintings were in fact the base for other watercolour paintings. Have these been painted in the studio or did my Great-uncle return to the place ? I cannot tell. »

Gérard Guérin
Robert LALOUE’s Grandnephewv

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Galerie des Ocres : art, peinture, céramiqueChantal Courthaudon - Place du Castrum - F 84220 Roussillon
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