Eugene Galien (Gallien is also used as an alternate spelling) Laloue was born in 1854 in the Montmartre area in Paris, France. His father died when he was 16 and Laloue enlisted in the army fighting in the Franco Prussian War. After the end of the conflict Laloue decided to become an artist and in 1874 was hired to work as an illustrator for the French Railway. Little is known about his training. His father was a set designer and it might be that he was given some basic art education from him.
He worked in oil, watercolor, pastel and gouache although he preferred the latter because because the faster drying times allowed him to produce more work to sell.
The period Laloue painted during in Paris is known as La Belle Epoque. It was a time of great optimism. It stretches from the end of the Franco Prussian war in 1871 to the outbreak of World War I in 1914. It was a time of great prosperity and innovation for the region and Laloue captured its growth and success brilliantly with his paintings.
Most of his motifs center around city scenes and architecture but he was also adept at quieter images of the countryside. His figures are lively and immediate and his sense of lighting is superb. Laloue worked under a number of pseudonyms during his lifetime. The reason for this is a bit of the mystery and is not completely explained by his eccentricity and reclusiveness. Records have confirmed he had at least three other names he used and historians think there are probably more.
A very private person Laoue had few interests besides his paintings. He did marry, but he did not seek the company of other artists. He worked outside to establish the basics of his paintings but then would retreat to his studio to finish them in private.
Laloue continued to paint his popular city scenes until 1940 when he had to stop after breaking his arm. He died in 1941 at the beginning of the second World War.
Eugene Galien Laloue
The Triumph of Paris
Alexander Kahan Fine Arts, 1999