Framed: 32 x 40 1/2 inches
In 1886, Puigaudeau made his first visit to the quiet seaside village of Pont-Aven. There he booked a room at Gloanec's, a popular hotel for artists on a budget. It so happens that Paul Gauguin was also making his first visit and staying at the same hotel. Puigeaudeau, along with a small number of aspiring artists were in a wholly unique position of observing and working alongside one of the most important painters of the late nineteenth century. Inspired by their contact with Gauguin, a number of these artists created a quite radical movement in painting. They call themselves the Nabis, the Hebrew word for Prophet.
Puigaudeau adopted some of the tenets of this new mode such as heightened palette, simplified forms and a vigorous brushwork that is reminiscent of pointillism. He had a passion for the subtitles of light in any form. His garden views and paintings of his home in Kervaudu are imbued with a warm light and freshness of color. Puigaudeau began these paintings sometime around 1907 when he and his family rented the manor depicted in this particular painting from M. Lebreton de Fontenelle. He would remain here until his death on September 15th, 1930.
Because of Kervaudu's location on a peninsula, the area attracted many artists to Nantes. Thus Puigaudeau found himself surrounded by his old friends, Emile Dezaunay, Alexis de Broca and Donatien Roy; and the group would regularly set forth onto the country-side on painting excursions. From 1910 to 1914, Puigaudeau happily criss-crosse through the countryside endlessly painting the sunsets on the sea and windmills.
He developed close relationships with Gauguin, Degas, Rysselberghe, Ensor and Bernard. Degas affectionately referred to Puigeaudeau as the Hermit of Kervaudu.
Berger et ses Moutons au Soleil Couchant, depicting a shepherd and his sheep at pasture, is one of Puigaudeau’s calmer and more subdued evening scenes. The sun has dipped into a swath of violet clouds, having nearly disappeared beneath the horizon. Only a faint glow remains, giving the overall work a feeling of quietude and meditation. Puigaudeau has rendered his figures relatively small in size compared to the scale of the landscape, making his trees the dominant compositional features and making his shepherd almost insignificant in comparison. This piece is unique in its delicate handling of paint; whereas some of Puigaudeau’s works are painted with heavier, thicker strokes, Berger et ses Moutons is lighter and more brushy, with areas of exposed raw canvas. The resulting appearance is both earthy and ethereal.
Private Collection, Nantes