1864 - 1930
Oil on canvas
After the divorce of his parents, Puigaudeau was raised, from the age of 14, by his maternal uncle Count Henry Chateaubriand, who encouraged his artistic leanings. He studied from the age of 19 in Italy, mainly in Rome, and in Belgium met the sculptor Constantin Meunier. In about 1886, he went to work in Pont Aven, Brittany, where he met Laval and Gauguin, returning there in 1888 after his military service. Around 1890, he was awarded a study grant and went to work in Sweden and Paris, where he made the acquaintance of the Impressionist dealer Durand Ruel. In 1897, he moved with his family to Antibes, hoping to meet Renoir, then around 1899-1900 to Sannois not far from Paris, where he met Degas. From 1904, he travelled between Venice and France, finally settling permanently in 1910 near Croisic, where he led a secluded life, receiving visits from artists and giving refuge to Laboureur and Florent Schmitt during the World War I.
Puigaudeau has only recently acquired public recognition, partly owing to the financial difficulties which he experienced throughout his life, his inclination towards solitude and the loss of 60 paintings during an exhibition in New York. He is mainly admired for his scenes of village life, urban landscapes or landscapes with figures at dusk and at night. These include: Magic Lantern in the Evening, around 1896, Festival over the grand canal in Venice around 1894, The Sea, Sunset, around 1925, Breton Women with Chinese Lanterns, around 1896, and Fairground at Night ( Le Manège forain la nuit) around 1894.
His technique involved applying colour in separate tones and brushstrokes to achieve certain effects of light, combined with a more structured approach towards objects that gives prominence to detail, as in Garden in Flower in Morbihan around 1910, as well as a certain classical tendency, as in The Town of Batz.
Puigaudeau exhibited little. He took part in the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900 and held his first solo exhibition in 1903 at the Galerie des Artistes Modernes. In 2001, he was represented in The Golden Age of Painting in Brittany ( L’Âge d’or de la peinture en Bretagne) at the Musée de Vannes in La Cohue. Otherwise, the exhibitions organised by the Thierry Salvador gallery in Paris and their catalogues have also helped to make both the artist and his work more widely known.