Georges Edmond Dargouge
Dargouge displayed a gift and love for art at an early age and after his preparatory education, he went to study under Fernand Corman, Charles Fouqueray, and Jacques Humbert of the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. Under their tutelage and influence, his work took on a unique look, not that of impressionism (which was all the rage in France in the early twentieth century), but one of a soft realism, tempered with a 19th century does of Romanticism.
He was truly an artist of the 20th century having lived through all but the last 10 years of this exciting period. His work encompassed many subjects and styles – landscapes, cityscapes, seascapes, and portraiture, but he was perhaps best known for his paintings of the coast (particularly Brittany), showing the heavy influence of Charles Fouqueray (who from 1908 was “Peintre de la Marine” and illustrator of Rudyard Kipling books), and Fernand Corman, (official painter for the French Navy during WWI and a traveler to all the French colonies. One of his works hangs in Versailles).
Dargouge’s marine paintings display a well-defined light realism with romantic portrayals of Frances’ maritime history, often paiting vessels as a background setting for the humans involved in the work of the sea. Others show a slight impressionistic view of the coast. Throughout his work however, is his subtle use of light to lend an ethereal quality to his subject. Marine works that have come to auction include “La benediction de la mer”, “Le port de Brest”, “Etrave de voillier”, Bateau de pêche”, “Le Baptême de la mer”, “Cimetiere matin”, and “Lac de Constance.”
Other notable landscapes and genre include “Matin triste, rue Daniel Stern dans le XVe à Paris”, “Première neige, Ave Raphael”, “Le pont neuf à Paris”, and the important works “The Afternoon Wash”, and “Une Allée due Bois de Boulogne”. Not to be dismissed, however, are his poignant portraits, in particular “Portrait de la belle-mère de l’artiste”, “Portrait de l’epouse de l’artiste” (2 paintings), “Lady in a Black Coat”, and his self-portrait “Autoportrait jeune à la palette.” His portraiture was heavily influenced by another of his instructors, famous portrait artist Alexander Cabanel.
In summary, it is fair to say that Georges Dargouge has become recognized as an important French artist of the 20th century as reflected in his current auction history and a renewed interest in his work by collectors.