Louis Anquetin was a brilliant figure in late 19th-century Parisian life (cabarets, froufrou bistros etc.). He was an innovative painter with a strong personality and great energy.
He considered modernity to be an alibi for the general ignorance of painters and teachers.
Louis Anquetin entered Cormon’s non-academic workshop alongside Van Gogh and his friend Toulouse-Lautrec, on whom he had a strong influence. They had a moral and aesthetic friendship and Toulouse-Lautrec loved Anquetin’s painting… Since Manet, no painter seemed to have such extraordinary qualities.
His spent his childhood in Normandy where he discovered horses. Some of his most beautiful paintings are street scenes or horses.
In 1890 the press presented him as a daring and promising artist and he was celebrated throughout his lifetime.
In 1888, he participated in the XX Salon in Brussels with Théo Van Rysselberghe, an art fair that revealed his talent. He was 27 years old and was successful.
Fénéon discovered him at the Volpini exhibition in 1889 with Gauguin.
Anquetin painted “Coup de vent sur le pont des Saints-Pères” (Gusts of Wind on the Saint-Pères Bridge) in 1889. The painting, which is not very academic, was divisive – he was accused of breaking the rules.
“In reality, this scene is delightful because it is of an indisputable truth – it conceals all the joyful and frenzied physiognomy of a corner of Paris where the wind is raging and I would add that one must have a singularly sure eye to give this scene such an admirable accent of sincerity”.
“In this painting, everything feels daring, both the technique and the expressive treatment of the scene. This picture, of a startling truth, highlights both the devious effects of the wind on the unhappy passersby and on the eyes of the dazzled spectator.”
(excerpt from Mathias Morhardt – Anquetin, La passion d’être peintre).
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