LEGRAND, LOUIS-AUGUSTE-MATHIEU(1863-1951)

Paintings by the artist available for purchase

FLEURS DE CHAMPS
NUDE, 1904

Biographical Details

Louis Legrand 

1863 - 1951

Louis Legrand was born at Dijon 23 September 1863.

A pupil of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts of Dijon, Legrand went to Paris in 1884 where he studied with Felicien Rops who taught him the art of engraving. Rops certainly communicated his idiosyncratic taste for explicit subjects to his pupil but Legrand never reflected the morbidity of his master's work in his. In most cases, Legrand celebrated life and its sensuality in an optimistic manner. The art of Louis Legrand offers an intimate depiction of Belle Époque Paris peopled by pleasure seeker and givers, with a special focus on the nightlife of Montmartre.

Legrand gained instant celebrity in 1891, when his watercolours of music-hall dancers, reproduced in Gil Blas illustré, sold out a record 60,000 copies. These were published the following year as a suite of etchings, 'Cours de danse Fin-de-siècle'. A series evoking Degas in its sympathetic rendering of ballet dancers, Les Petits du Ballet, was published in 1893 by Gustave Pellet. This was the beginning of a long collaboration, resulting in some 300 works, between the artist and the celebrated publisher of many of Lautrec's finest prints, as well as those of Redon, Rops and Signac.

Many of Legrand's prints show women, usually occupied, though sometimes languorously so, rehearsing or waiting to go on state, performing their toilette in private or in view of an admirer; in the cafes or bars adjusting their hats and wraps while male companions stand by. They eat, drink and smoke in public. In more domestic surroundings, they play with their pets and children. In those surroundings least domestic, they encourage clients to take their pleasure and pay for it.

Legrand preceded Lautrec and others in publishing works portraying the cancan dancers and the demi-mondaines of Montmartre. He achieved wide recognition during the most productive part of his career.

Museum:

San Francisco Museum of Art

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