Achille Laugé was born in 1861 in Arzens, a town in the southern part of France in the Aude region, the son of successful farmers. When Laugé was still quite young, the family moved to Cailhau near Carcassone not far from Arzens where he was born. It was in this town that the young artist spent most of his youth. In 1878 when Laugé was seventeen, he began his studies in Toulouse, moving next to Paris in 1881 where he enrolled in the École des Beaux-Arts. While Laugé was studying at the École des Beaux-Arts, his friend from Toulouse, Antoine Bourdelle introduced him to the classical sculptor Aristide Maillol, renowned for his large-scale sculptures of women. The two remained friends for many years. Laugé resided in Paris during heady and exciting times for the artistic community. He was exposed to the work of the Neo-Impressionists, and it is most certain that he saw the exhibition of Georges Seurat's La Grande Jatte in 1886. In 1895 Laugé moved back to his childhood home of Cailhau. Around this time Laugé began to employ a practice called divisionism whereby color is separated into individual dots or strokes of pigment. Such Neo-Impressionist artists as Georges Seurat and Paul Signac with whose work Laugé was inspired, applied paint in contrasting dots of color placed side by side, so that, when seen from a distance, these dots would blend and be perceived by the retina as a luminous whole. From 1888 until 1896, Laugé's paintings were similarly though not quite so scientifically constructed with small dots of color. After this period Laugé's technique changed. Now instead he applied paint in strokes that approached crosshatching. Again in 1905 his style took another turn. At this point he began to paint in larger strokes that resulted in a thicker impasto application. Such a style brought him full circle to a more Impressionist style.
Verger de L'Artiste is a first rate example of Laugé's singular Impressionist landscapes. Executed potentially after he had returned to his boyhood home of Cailhau in the southern part of France, the picture shows "The Artist's Orchard" in full springtime bloom. This was Laugé's favorite subject and he contuinually painted this site near his home. Like many of the Impressionist painters in the tradition of Claude Monet, Laugé would record the changing light of day as well as seasons on the same locale. His pigments in this particular example have been intricately applied and with thick impasto which was a traditional Impressionist technique. Above all, Laugé was the Impressionist who perhaps most brilliantly conveyed the perfect subject of an orchard in bloom in such a memorable manner. The result is a fresh, appealing Mediterranean landscape in vivid whites, pinks, yellows, and greens that is a delight to the eye. These canvases by Laugé are very sought after by collectors.
Kaplan Gallery, London
Commander Jeoffroy Littleton Lewis, London (acquired from the above in 1966)
Acquired from the above by a Private Collector in 2006