This work will be included in the catalogue raisonné of Achille Laugé currently being prepared by Nicole Tamburini.
‘Laugé’s art is one of great sensitivity and controlled reason; he is a master of light’ (Antoine Bourdelle quoted in ‘Le peintre Achille Laugé’ in Comoedia, p. 3, Paris, 23 June 1927).
It was in Paris in the early 1890s, while sharing a studio with Aristide Maillol, that Laugé discovered the paintings of Seurat and Signac. After entering the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1882 he remained there for four years and during this time would have undoubtedly seen the avant-garde work of the Neo-Impressionists and was therefore to some degree influenced by them.
After his sojourn to Paris, Laugé returned to his childhood home of Cailhau near Carcassonne in the Aude, establishing himself permanently in somewhat relative isolation and only exhibiting on the rare occasion at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris. From 1888 until 1896, the year the present lot was painted, Laugé would compose his pictures with these small points of colour and painted some of his most seminal works. Executed in 1896, La route de Cailhau (Aude) is an example of one of these such works; depicting an iconic Laugé scene – a road flanked by trees and bathed in sunlight, receding into the distance towards the commune of Cailhau on top of a hill. By combining all the principles of divisionism: balance of composition, geometric rigour of line, pure superimposed colours and a marked sensitivity to light, shade and tone, it encapsulates the mastery of medium we associate with the works of Seurat and Signac. Indeed, for an artist who preferred to paint quietly in the beauty and tranquillity of the Midi, away from the public eye, today, Laugé is now firmly recognised as an equally important and pivotal artist of his time, with his works held in several major museums, including the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée du Louvre in Paris.