This lively view of Paris was painted around 1885 by the French artist Emile Cagniart. The view is that of the Boulevard Rochechouart in the Pigalle area of Paris, close to Montmartre. Cagnairt painted a number of these expansive scenes, concentrating on promoting the feeling of cold and damp. Within this moody landscape he has enlivened the image with the glow of the street lamps and glow from the shop windows. This first tier of Parisian street scene painters spawned many later imitators. Artists such Edouard Cortes and the truly appalling Antoine Blanchard churned out cheap pastiches to satisfy the growing market for tourist views of Paris. Never did they attain the painterly qualities of these earlier, superior artists.
Emile Cagniart was born in Paris where he would remain for his sixty years. Like many young aspiring artists of is day he worked as an apprentice to an established artist. In the case of Cagniart it was Antoine Guillemet (1843-1918) the renowned paysagiste who was barely eight years his senior. Guillemet instructed Cagniart in the art of painting landscape compositions much as the great Corot had taught Guillemet himself. His first opportunity to show his skills to a wider audience outside of Guillemet’s atelier came in 1877 when he was invited to show at the Paris Salon. He would continue to exhibit at this most prestigious of venues until 1900 when, under the rules of the Salon, he could no longer exhibit as a result of his invitation to join the Salon’s judging committee.
After 1900 Cagniart continued to paint, working mostly in the Seine and Loire River valleys producing works full of light and subtle shadow. He would die in Paris on St. Valentine’s Day in 1911.
Works by Cagniart are held in the French Museums of Perigueux, Rouen and Toul.