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Charles Laval - Artwork, Relationship with Van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh went to live with his Brother Theo in Montmartre, the artists quarter of Paris. His encounter with
the artistic movements there had a profound impact on his work ... take a tour of the secrets of Vincents' art.

Leading figures of the 19th-century avant-garde in Paris

Charles Laval's Life

Charles Laval's Life

Laval had exhibited at the Salon of 1880 at just eighteen years of age. He exhibited again in 1883. Born in Paris, he had pursued his artistic studies as a young man first at the studio of Léon Bonnat and then at the more liberal atelier of Fernand Cormon. In the summer of 1886, Laval followed the route of other artists to Pont-Aven in Brittany to compose images of the countryside and inhabitants. The Englishman Henry Blackburn had noted the town?s importance as a location for artists just a few years earlier :

Pont-Aven is a favorite spot for artists, and a terra incognita to the majority of travelers in Brittany. Here the art student, who has spent the winter in the Quartier Latin in Paris, comes when the leaves are green, and settles down for the summer to study undisturbed. How far he succeeds depends upon himself.

Because of his modest output and relatively short life, Laval failed to reach his full artistic potential, but Pont-Aven was important for him because it was here the young artist met Gauguin and became one of his most devoted followers.

Tall and lanky in frame, Laval suffered poor health, partly due to his dissolute lifestyle. Keen to avoid the poverty of Paris and to continue to work with Gauguin in a warmer climate, in April 1887 Laval accompanied the latter to Panama. There they had hoped to live like savages. This romantic notion was soon dispelled however, and reality required that Laval earn a living painting portraits of the locals. On their way to Panama, the pair had stopped in Martinique, in the Caribbean, and by June they returned to this more hospitable location. It was in Martinique that Laval adopted the more energetic and freely painted style which he and Gauguin jointly pursued, and which is evident in the later work, Landscape, seen here. In December of 1887 Laval acknowledged his artistic debt to Gauguin, who had by then returned to France because of ill health: You rolled back my horizons and made space around me ? the longer I live the more I admire your talent.

> Read more ... Overview of Museums with Impressionists Artwork

The palette adopted by Laval is one of bright hues

The palette adopted by Laval is one of bright hues

Landscape reveals the continued influence of Gauguin, and Laval's own stylistic development in 1889-90. The forms of the landscape, the grassy hillside, the untamed trees, the meandering stream and the grass-covered riverbanks in the foreground, have all been simplified and delineated with dark outlines. The brushwork is applied up to the contours in an almost decorative manner and there is a subtle mixture of colors. The palette adopted by Laval is one of bright hues. The grass covered hillsides have been painted in layers of reds, oranges and greens with touches of white, and the trees, in deeper greens with touches of red, appear as simplified shapes. A blustery sky completes what appears as an almost untamed landscape.

Charles Laval was Paul Gauguin's travelling companion when the artist went to Martinique in 1887. On their return from this island paradise both artists settled in Pont-Aven in Brittany. Here Laval painted this self-portrait, posing himself in front of a window through which can be seen a garden with a colorful tree. The artist painted the tree, the glass and his face with short, generally vertical brushstrokes. Other parts of the painting, such as the grass and clothing, are more sketchy in treatment, creating an effect reminiscent of a watercolor.

> Read more ... Masterpieces from Paris a collaboration between the Musée d?Orsay and the National Gallery of Australia

Charles Laval and Van Gogh

Charles Laval and Van Gogh

Laval?s self-portrait was the product of an agreement between Van Gogh and several of his painter friends. Van Gogh asked Laval, Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard to send him a portrait, in exchange for one of his own self-portraits.

Van Gogh was extremely impressed by Laval's contribution. He even included a small drawing of the work in a letter to Theo, in order to give his brother an impression of the painting. He described the self-portrait as very powerful, very distinguished and precisely one of the paintings that you talk about: that one has in one's possession before others have recognized the talent.

> Read more ... Self-Portrait, 1888 Charles Laval (1862-1894)


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