Postcards from Paris

Eugene Galien-Laloue is famous for his picturesque gouaches of Paris that capture daily life with a casual and unassuming sense of composition and viewpoint. He is the casual observer on his bicycle with sketchbook in hand, appreciating all buildings, cafes, and sidewalks as only a true Parisian can. His work, along with other painters of the Paris street scene, were well-known and sought after at the time. The camera had not yet been able to fully represent movement, so many, especially foreigners, were eager to satisfy their taste for this mysterious and glamorous city.

A view of the Opera House, Paris by Georges Stein perfectly captures that feeling of standing in the middle of a busy city square. The massive buildings surround you, people walk in a hurried pace, and the glassy rain makes everything all the more clear to you, the still and silent observer.

Edouard Cortès also favors the watery luminesce of autumn rain, that glorious moment before the sun sets and the street lamps and cafes emanate a warm glow. Perhaps he depicts Paris at its finest and most serene, giving the viewer a sense of belonging to a leisurely-strolling crowd.

Camille Pissarro didn’t particularly enjoy painting his birds-eye view scenes of wide boulevards, but they were exactly what his art dealer and the bourgeois public wanted. He was fond of depicting peasant life, so painting from the windows of expensive hotels in order to please the Parisian socialites he didn’t like was somewhat humiliating and frustrating. At the time, the ones who appreciated the art of the Impressionists were not peasants, unfortunately, and Pissarro had to earn a living somehow.