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  • Louis Anquetin
    Jan 26, 1861 - Aug 19, 1932
  • Avenue de Clichy, Evening, Five O'Clock - Louis Anquetin was a French painter noted for his association with the Post-Impressionist movement and for his works depicting scenes of Paris at night done in the Cloisonnism style. Anquetin was considered the greatest artist of the 19th century. His was one of the founders of Synthetism. Most of the painter’s works are canvases depicting female figures inside or on the street.
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Avenue de Clichy, Evening, Five O'Clock
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  • Avenue de Clichy, Evening, Five O'Clock

  • Louis Anquetin
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  • Avenue de Clichy, le soir, cinq heures, March 1887
    pastel on board
    Private collection, United States

    The artists that populated Montmartre in late 19th century Paris found inspiration in its modern milieus—the convivial café, the seductive dance hall, the theatrical circus, the bustling street life. Anquetin was a leading figure within the Parisian avant-garde, accompanied by stalwarts of the modern movement such as Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Emile Bernard, in the café-cabaret circle centered in Montmartre. Anquetin was a true modern artist with an ever-evolving style. One such style, Cloisonnism, established by Anquetin and Bernard in the spring of 1887, was a direct departure from previous forays in Impressionism and Divisionism, with their focus on the brushstroke and heavy applications of paint. The Cloisonnist style was inspired by medieval stained glass enameling techniques and Japanese wood block prints, which were influential in works produced by a number of Parisian artists of the period (Brame et Lorenceau, Anquetin, La passion d'être peintre, Paris, 1991, p. 17).

    Executed in March 1887, Avenue de Clichy, le soir, cinq heures is a vivid example of a work executed in the early Cloissonist style. The setting is bright and animated, conveying a sense of action and theatricality. The cropped female in the right foreground of the picture as well as the bird's-eye perspective project the viewer into this tightly framed scene. Anquetin's contoured figures are incised in the backdrop, cutting through the color and celebrating the supremacy of the drawn line.

    In an essay in the 1 March 1888 issue of La Revue indépendante, critic Edouard Dujardin pointed out "a rather new and novel manner" that he had detected in the work of his friend Anquetin, who had recently made his debut in exhibitions of the group Les Vingt in Brussels and at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris:

    “At first sight, his works proclaim the idea of decorative painting: traced outlines along with strong and fixed colouration. Outline, is quasi-abstract sign, gives the character of an object; unity of colour determines the atmosphere, fixes the sensation. From this derives the circumspection of outline and colour as conceived by popular imagery and Japanese art. The artists of the ‘image d'Epinal’ and Japanese woodcut albums first trace lines within which are placed colours according to the ‘colour pattern’ process. Likewise, the painter Anquetin traces his design with enclosing lines, within which he places his various colour tones juxtaposed in order to produce the desired sensation of general colouration. Drawing predicates colour and colour predicates drawing. And the work of the painter will be something like painting by compartment, analogous to cloisonné works of art, and his technique consists in a sort of cloisonnisme” (quoted in B. Welsh-Ovcharov, Vincent van Gogh and the Birth of Cloisonism, exh. cat., Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 1981, pp. 23 and 24).

    The technique of cloisonné was widely used in Medieval France, with its great center in Limoges, and consisted of firing ground glass that had been placed in a metal framework that outlined the design of the object. The "images d'Epinal" were popular woodcuts whose tradition was also traceable back to the late Middle Ages, and were characterized by their primitive drawing and heavy lines. By the mid-1880s the influence of Japanese prints had touched most progressive artists, who were drawn to their unusual manipulation of spatial relationships and flattened areas of color.

    Anquetin created three other versions of this subject: an oil in the collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (fig. 1), a second pastel, and a gouache and watercolor.

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Other paintings by Louis Anquetin:

At the Races
At the Races
Au Moulin Rouge
Au Moulin Rouge
Banks of the Seine
Banks of the Seine
Louis AnquetinLouis Anquetin was a French painter noted for his association with the Post-Impressionist movement and for his works depicting scenes of Paris at night done in the Cloisonnism style. Anquetin took art lessons from French painters Léon Bonnat and Fernand Cormon and worked closely and exhibited with noted artists like Émile Bernard, Vincent van Gogh, Charles Angrand, Camille Pissarro, Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, Paul Gauguin and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Although Anquetin remained active in the Impressionist movement of the time, he became interested in the works of Flemish masters in his later years. He along with Bernard came up with a post-Impressionist painting style called cloisonnism that was inspired by stained glass and Japanese ukiyo-e art and includes use of bold and flat forms separated by thick dark contours. L’Avenue de Clichy, an early work of Anquetin, was inspired by Japanese ukiyo-e prints. His popularity however waned after he abandoned the modern movements and took to studying the methods of Old Masters. His works such as Rinaldo and Armida done after the mid-1890s were particularly Rubensian and allegorical in nature. He also wrote a book on Rubens later in his life.