Louis Anquetin was widely regarded as the most promising artist of the nineteenth century, exerting a significant influence on subsequent generations of artists. In Paris, he was associated with artists such as Vincent van Gough, Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Emile Bernard, and George Seurat. His early work was heavily influenced by ‘Impressionism,’ but he and Bernard later developed a new method of painting known as ‘Cloisonnisme,’ which quickly earned him a reputation as an innovator in the Paris art scene. Anquetin never stuck to one style and experimented with a variety of styles throughout his career. This could be partly a result of his innovative spirit and restless spirit. He was largely absent from the art world in his later years, and he was nearly forgotten after his death. However, interest in his work has increased in recent years, particularly his paintings of mysterious women of the night, a subject he explored while in Rome. You can learn more about this remarkable artist by reading the biography provided below.
Childhood And Adolescence
Louis Anquetin was born on 26 January 1861 in Etrepagny, a commune in the Department of Eure. He was the illustrious butcher George Anquetin’s and Rose-Felicite Chauvet’s only child. He was lavishly pampered as the only child of a prosperous family.
His parents encouraged him to pursue drawing, and he quickly became enamored with the medium. He enrolled at the Lycee Pierre Corneille in Rouen in 1872, at the age of 11, and graduated in 1880. He became friends with Edouard Dujardin at school, who later became a renowned poet.
He then enlisted in the military with the 6th Dragoon Cavalry Regiment in Chartres. After completing his service, he decided to pursue a career as an artist and, with the encouragement of his parents, traveled to Paris in 1882. He then joined Leon Bonnat’s studio, where he met and befriended Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Louis Anquetin and Henri joined Fernand Cormon’s workshop the following year, following Laon’s appointment as a professor at the Academy of Arts. He was an exceptionally bright student, and Cormon regarded him as his successor.
His artistic career began in the shadow of the legendary avant-garde painter Vincent Van Gough, and the two quickly became close friends. In 1884, he co-founded a workshop with Emile Bernard, who was 16 at the time. After meeting Claude Monet in 1885, Louis Anquetin coined the term ‘Impressionism.’
This style enabled him to define his painting range. Later in life, he and his friends sought to transcend ‘Impressionism’ and establish a modern style. The young Cormon group frequently used one another as models, as evidenced by Anquetin’s 1886 drawing of Toulouse-Lautrec and Bernard’s 1887 pastel study. Toulouse-Lautrec also sketched Anquetin in 1886, Bernard in 1885, and Van Gough in 1887.
Emile Bernard left the workshop in April 1886, and Van Gough joined in October. He exhibited some of his works at the Café du Tambourin during this period, alongside Bernard and Lautrec. Van Gough also exhibited Louis’ paintings alongside his own and that of his friends at the Grand Café Bouillon. In 1886, he met Georges Seurat, a post-impressionist painter, and was introduced to ‘Divisionism’. Louis begins painting in the divisionist style with Emile Bernard.
Career of Louis
Later in his career, he developed a new style known as ‘Cliosonnism,’ which was inspired in part by Japanese wood block prints and stained glass. Edouard Dujardin, an art critic, coined the term after seeing their work in a review in 1888. Additionally, the new style was influenced by Van Gough’s Japanese prints.
This style is defined by the use of strong black contour lines and flat areas of color. Two of his works, ‘Avenue de Clichy: Five O’clock’ and ‘Le Faucher’, are said to have served as the inspiration for Van Gough’s famous works ‘Café Terrace at Night’ and ‘Les Moissons’. Toulouse-“At Lautrec’s the Circus Fernando” was inspired by another work, “At the Circus” (1887).
(1888). He also had an influence on other illustrious artists such as Gauguin and Picasso. Paul Gauguin’s “La Dame a la Robe Rouge” (1891) was inspired by Anquetin’s “La Dame en Rouge” (1890), and 13 years later, Pablo Picasso’s portrait of Gertrude Stein was inspired by Anquetin’s “Madeline” (1892).
His new style brought him notoriety and acclaim. In 1889, he exhibited alongside Paul Gauguin, Leon Faucher, Daniel George, Emile Bernard, Louis Roy, Charles Laval, and Charles Filiger at the Paris Exposition. He also exhibited to critical acclaim at Brussels’ Les XX.
He received high praise for his work from art critic Felix Feneon. The following year, he relocated his studio from Montmartre to the more fashionable Rue de Rome and began painting mysterious women at night, the best example being “Woman on the Champs-Elysees by Night.”
In 1891, he organized a major exhibition of ten of his best works at the Salon des Independents. All of the paintings, particularly “Woman on the Champs-Elysees by Night,” which was also on display, received glowing reviews from critics.
Period of the Classics
In 1894, Louis Anquetin traveled to Belgium and Holland with Toulouse-Lautrec and Joseph Albert. There he encountered and was profoundly influenced by the works of past masters such as Peter Paul Reubens, Rembrandt van Rijn, and Franz Hals.
He observed that the masters’ paintings were fluid and brilliant, whereas his own appeared opaque and laborious. He also had lengthy technical discussions with Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and they both agreed that their materials lacked something. As a result, his subsequent works became more classical in nature.
By this time, the majority of his contemporaries had already abandoned oil painting in favor of pastels, believing it to be dull. Anquetin had a different opinion. He believed that oil painting was their collective inheritance and accused his colleagues of a lack of oil painting knowledge.
According to him, the problem was a lack of knowledge of oil painting techniques and the ability to draw by studying anatomy among his colleagues. As a result, he made a complete 180 degree turn in his career during this period, rejecting modern art in favor of classicism. He was rejected by other painters and art critics and remained friends only with Toulouse-Lautrec.
From 1894 to 1896, he studied anatomy in Professor Arroux’s laboratory in Clamart, believing that great masters possessed perfect knowledge of anatomy, allowing them to paint figures without the use of models. He also began experimenting with oil techniques in an attempt to replicate the techniques of the old masters.
He settled in Bourron-Marlotte and became acquainted with Elemis Biurges, Paul Fort, Stuart Merrill, Elemis Bourges, and Armand Point. In 1901, Louis was invited to create four panels representing Balzac, Descartes, Rabelais, and Alfred de Vigny on the hotel’s north wall by his former teacher, Fernand Cormon. These works were, however, superseded in 1907 by Francois Schommer’s paintings.
Individual Life And Death
Louis married Berthe Coquinot, the widow of an officer, in 1906, when he was about 45 years old. The couple settled on Vine Street in a magnificent house designed by Charles Blanche following their marriage. He also began teaching painting techniques to a large number of students during this time period.
Additionally, he delivered lectures at the People’s University and organized monthly debates at the restaurant La Perouse in 1914. He guided two of his students, Jacques Maroger and Camille Versini, along with chemist Marc Havel, during this time period in their research on various varnishes and painting techniques. In 1924, he published “Rubens.” Louis was assassinated in August 1932.
By this point, he had been largely forgotten. Emile Bernard, a friend of his, met him a few months before his death and painted his portrait, which was signed “Louis Anquetin, a token of my profound admiration.”
Estimated Net Worth
The net worth of Louis is unknown.