The artist, Achille Laugé 1861-1944

After we had owned La Fontaine in Cailhavel for a few years, we discovered that a significant French Neo-Impressionist* artist once lived nearby. In a house called l'Alouette which is five minutes down the road D221 out of Cailhavel towards the main road D623 to Limoux. The house is still family owned.

Paysage de la Gardie

Achille Laugé studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris where he met and befriended the renowned sculptor Aristide Maillol. Laugé's early adoption of the pointilliste technique may have been influenced by Georges Seurat and his circle of Neo-Impressionist friends. His paintings then became progressively looser in style. A typical example of his early style is 'Paysage de la Gardie' which now hangs in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. La Gardie is a farm which looking in a SE direction from our house can be seen on a hill with a line of trees either side of the long drive leading up to the farm.

Arbes en Fleurs

Then we came across 'Arbes en Fleurs a l'Entrée de Cailhavel', 1928 - a view of almond trees in flowers on the D221 leading to our village including we think La Fontaine. This was sold by Christie's in New York in 2017 for $57,500

As you will see from the photograph below, nothing much has changed!

La route

Achille Laugé was a prolific artist. His paintings were mainly of the local countryside, flowers and portraits. We have derived great enjoyment on our walks from identifying the present day location of his landscape pictures. Around the neighbouring village of Cailhau there is a circular walk with a number of tableaux along the route displaying the scenes he painted nearby.

His paintings are regularly sold through the great auction houses one of which 'La route', at Christie's in 2017, realised £809,000

Achille Laugé died on 2 June 1944. Following his death retrospectives of his work were organized all over the world e.g. 1966 in London, 1967 in New York, 1969 in Paris and subsequently there were various other exhibitions in France.

Paintings by the artist now hang in the Paris Musée National d'Art Moderne alongside Neo-Impressionist works by Georges Seurat and Paul Signac. Other works are held in the Louvre in Paris and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC and much more locally in the Musée Petiet de Limoux. The largest surviving group of works by Laugé is today to be found in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Carcassonne. In Cailhau there is an Association Achille Laugé at 10 Grand Rue where you can find copies of his works.

* Neo-Impressionism is the name given to the post-impressionist work of Georges Seurat, Paul Signac and their followers who, inspired by optical theory, painted using tiny adjacent dabs of primary colour to create the effect of light. (Tate def.)

Discover the paintings in real life in France this summer, whilst staying at Maison La Fontiaine.

Paysage de la Gardie

Paysage de la Gardie

Arbes en Fleurs a l’Entrée de Cailhavel

Arbes en Fleurs a l’Entrée de Cailhavel

The scene today

The scene today

La route

La route

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