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View of Rouen

Léon Jules Lemaitre

(1850 - 1905) | 958.10

Date : 1891 | Medium : Oil on canvas

A little less than ten years after his friend Charles Angrand, Léon-Jules Lemaître set up his easel on the left bank of the Seine to compile his inventory of Rouen sites. After inspecting the old streets, lingering lovingly on the old 15th century house in Rue Saint Romain, the Great Clock in Rue Damiette and the exceptional façade of Saint-Maclou church, Lemaître moved over the left bank of the river to observe the comings and goings of the minor trades. These subjects attracted the painter's attention on several occasions. The grey atmosphere is typical of rainy days in Rouen, frequent in October and November, of which Lemaître became a faithful and gifted interpreter.

‘As soon as the season of fine drizzle arrived, you were sure to see Léon-Jules Lemaître at some street corner or other, his felt hat pulled down over his eyes and his collar up-turned, sketching away at his small pictures on a little hand-held painting box. These will remain delicate documentary records of Rouen in the 19th century... We see the two ends of the bridge, always teeming with a lively crowd of townsfolk dashed off in a witty brushstroke, and how he brightens up his myriad visions of Rouen life with the pink splash of a charcutier's smock or the yellow note of a speeding tram’ (G. Dubosc, Journal de Rouen, 7-VI-1905).