Eugene Galien-Laloue was born in Paris in 1854. According to the very limited details available about his personal life, Laloue was his whole life a Parisian and his work was the dominating interest of his life. Laloue was first of all an architect. In spite of his love of drawing up plans and designing exteriors, the business and promotion angles of the profession had no interest for him. He was still a young man when he came to the decision that he would never be completely happy or successful in a permanent career as an architect.
With his tremendous interest in linear forms, it was only a natural sequence for Laloue to turn from the drafting board to experimentation with engraving and other media of the graphic arts. In this field he was able to combine his knowledge and appreciation of architecture with his great feeling for line work. Both as an illustrator and engraver he achieved a considerable reputation in Paris. However, Laloue reached his full stature as an artist in the field of watercolor and gouache where he could combine all of his many-faceted skills. In this he developed a style uniquely his own.
His line work is unbelievably delicate and sensitive and yet gives great substance to the forms of both his buildings and figures. At first glance his color is softly muted, yet it is rich in tonal quality. He is at once able to combine the beauty of design and color pattern with a strong atmosphere of mood and reality.His subjects are developed with infinite attention to detail, yet give the impression of spontaneity and easy flowing execution. Laloue was far from a prolific painter. His objective was jewel-like perfection.
After dedicating himself to painting, Laloue married and settled into a quiet and simple lifestyle. He was a loner and could be difficult to get along with; he was obsessed with his artwork and he was riding his bike into Paris to paint. It was in Paris that Laloue’s talent was revealed, but it was initiated in the countryside. His favorite seasons to depict of Paris were fall and winter, but for Normandy and the surroundings of Barbizon, he preferred to paint spring and summer.
After the death of his third wife, Laloue went to live with his daughter in her home in Paris. He continued to work incessantly, only stopping to eat.
He died at his daughter’s country house in 1941.
There are some painters who are easier than others to define. Eugene Galien–Laloue is particularly difficult in this regard. There are few artists who have used so many pseudonyms. Even major reference books show his pseudonyms as if they were different artists. Laloue contributed to this confusion himself, covering his tracks well, perhaps because he had an exclusive contract with a major gallery. After much research, it can be confirmed that Laloue has used the pseudonyms L. Dupuy, J. Lievin, and E. Galiany.