Galien-Laloue is known and widely collected as a School of Paris or Belle Epoque painter. Most people are familiar with his Parisian street scenes, which are similar to those by Luigi Loir and Edouard Cortes. They are often works on paper done with watercolor and gouache, though he is known to have worked in a multitude of media including pen, pencil and ink, and oil. These street scenes have become highly collected and desired, as they were even during his lifetime.
Born in Paris in 1854, Galien-Laloue studied under Charles Laloue. Galien-Laloue made his debut at the Salon des Artistes Francais in 1877, and continued throughout his years to show his works there with great success. In recent years, his work has enjoyed an international resurgence in popularity.
Yet Galien-Laloue had another side. As he was under contract to particular galleries and not allowed to show with others, he often painted under aliases. This allowed him to paint something other than the commercially salable street scenes and to have artistic freedom. An alias gave him the ability to sell his more serious works and to make sales outside his dealer's gallery. Thus, Galien-Laloue signed many oils with names such as Galiani and Lieven.
Galien-Laloue was prolific and painted in many different styles throughout his career. He was a versatile painter and it should be noted that this was partially because he was such a superb and facile draftsman.
The painters of Parisian street scenes form a genre all its own, and paintings of this ilk still decorate Paris squares, bridges, and sidewalks. The historically artistic areas of Paris, such as Monmartre, are literally bursting at the seams with such street scenes and quaint stalls, complete with a man who is unmistakably the artist himself, often painting happily away as the tourist amble past. But a painter of this nature during the time of the Belle Epoque surely feasted on a different Paris. Galien-Laloue was painting in an electrifying city, a city that was the artistic and cultural center of the world, a city in which ladies of high fashion paraded about streets that were, for the first time, being freshly populated by omnibuses and cabs. The entertainment and nightlife of Paris was unequalled by any other city in the world, and Galien-Laloue captured that moment.
Exhibitions: Salon des Artistes Francais, Paris, France, 1877