Ferdinand du Puigaudeau (1864-1930) French Impressionist Painter
Ferdinand Loyen du Puigaudeau is a painter with an identity and character all his own. Though his work bears similarities to the Realist, Impressionist, Symbolist, and Romantic movements, he remained outside the mainstream of these styles. His painting appears full of contradictions; bold and yet restrained, with a mixture of technical know how and naiveté. Representative of a stylistic approach almost unknown in France, his work is even comparable to that of the American Luminist painters of the same period. (Gauguin and the impressionists at Pont-Aven by Charles-Guy Le Paul, Judy Le Paul).
Ferdinand Loyen du Puigaudeau was born in Nantes. As a young boy he was close to his uncle Henri de Chateaubriant, who encouraged his artistic pursuits. Ferdinand's education was very traditional, he studied at various boarding schools from Paris to Nice. In 1882, the young man traveled to Italy, then to Tunisia.
In 1886, Puigaudeau went to Pont-Aven, village of Finistere, well known for all European painters, where he befriended Charles Laval and Gauguin. Their relationship is particularly close since 1887 when they planned together to go to Panama and Martinique. Puigaudeau, called Piccolo by Gauguin, couldn't join his friends, instead he had to join the army.
Three years later Puigaudeau visited Belgium and there met the artists James Ensor, Toorop, Vogels and the sculptor Constantin Meunier. In 1890, he presented his canvases for the first time at the Salon de la Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts. Through his father he made accquainted Paul Durand-Ruel, who exhibited his paintings with those of Henry Delavallée. Puigaudeau married Blanche Van Den Brouke in 1893 and they had a daughter Odette who would become an ethnologist, writer, journalist and feminist.
In 1895 the family settled in Pont-Aven, Puigaudeau met Armand Seguin, the poet Ernest Dowson, American painters Childe Hassam and Harrison. In 1897 Degas purchased his "Fireworks" at Durand-Ruel, and since then they had enjoyed a long friendship. Three years later the family moved in Cagnes; despite the help of Durand-Ruel, Puigaudeau had to send his wife and daughter to Paris, so he could completely concentrate on his work.
1900s are the most prosperous period for the artist.
In 1903, he held his first solo exhibition at the Galerie des Artistes Modernes, a small catalog is published for the occasion.
In 1904, the artist broke off his relationship with Durand-Ruel and left for Venice, where Puigaudeau painted more than 50 canvases on the subject.
On his return to Paris, the artist found himself in a critical financial situation. His family had to move to the village of Bourg de Batz in Atlantic Loire, their friends lent them an austere villa Fort Hikerik. The artist found a new merchant in Nantes and exhibited at various regional Fairs. In 1907, Puigaudeau leased the manor Kervaudu on very favorable terms and settled permanently in the peninsula where he lived till his death. Kervaudu became the meeting place of all the artist's friends of the artist - painters Emile Dezaunay Alexis de Broca and Jean-Emile Labourer, the writer Alphonse de Chateaubriant.