Floirac 1870 – Paris 1959
Woman in a Rocky Landscape
Oil on isorel pannel
Signed and dated lower left Charles Lacoste 1925
272 x 350 mm – 10 11/16 x 13 3/4 in.
A self-taught artist, Charles Lacoste was shaped by several important encounters with the writer André Gide, the composer Henri Duparc, the patron Arthur Fontaine, the poet Francis Jamme etc. Not accepted at the Bordeaux Société des amis des arts (Society of the friends of arts), he travelled to London many times between 1894 and 1897 and exhibited at the Salon des Cent (Salon of the Hundred) in Paris. From 1901 to 1904, he exhibited at the Indépendants. A founding member of the Salon d’automne (Autumn Salon) in Paris in 1903, he also exhibited at the Salon de la Libre esthétique (of the Free Aesthetics) in Bruxelles in 1907 and in the Salon of the Golden Fleece in Moscow in 1908.
Essentially a landscape painter, Charles Lacoste was placed by his contemporary admirers in the footsteps of great French classical landscape painters such as Nicolas Poussin, Claude Lorrain, Camille Corot, certainly due to his taste for simple shapes, quiet and peaceful nature, harmony and light. Although he was not officially part of the Nabi group of painters, he can be assimilated to them thanks to a strongly Japanese-influenced sense of perspective, the absence of relief and volume, the use of a prevailing shade, the simplification of shapes and cloisonnism that can be observed in his paintings. Whilst he was not extensively famous in his lifetime, Lacoste’s always enjoyed a great success within a circle of intellectuals and artists who admired his landscapes whose tender colors, foggy light and simple shapes create an oniric and silent atmosphere.
This beautiful landscape, dated 1925, belongs to the last periode of the artist’s career, when a “concern for a more “figurative” representation of nature was emerging” according to Frédéric Chappey who has also written that the works of this period “are amongst Lacoste’s lightest, most vivid and sunniest works” (Charles Lacoste : 60 ans de Peinture entre Symbolisme et Naturalisme, Paris, Bordeaux, 1985, p. 22).