Charles Théophile Angrand was born in Criquetot-sur-Ouville, Normandy, France, to schoolmaster Charles P. Angrand (1829–96) and his wife Marie (1833–1905).
He received artistic training in Rouen at Académie de Peinture et de Dessin. His first visit to Paris was in 1875, to see a retrospective of the work of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot at École des Beaux-Arts. Corot was an influence on Angrand's early work.
After being denied entry into École des Beaux-Arts, he moved to Paris in 1882, where he began teaching mathematics at Collège Chaptal. His living quarters were near Café d'Athènes, Café Guerbois, Le Chat Noir, and other establishments frequented by artists. Angrand joined the artistic world of the Parisian avant-garde, becoming friends with influential members including Georges Seurat, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Signac, Maximilien Luce, and Henri-Edmond Cross. His avant-garde artistic and literary contacts influenced him, and in 1884 he co-founded Société des Artistes Indépendants, along with Seurat, Signac, Odilon Redon, and others.After a career in teaching (working as a tutor in Rouen, northern France), Charles Angrand went to live in Paris, where he became acquainted with Signac and Seurat. In 1884 all three artists took part in the first Salon des Artistes Indépendants. Angrand exhibited there again in 1887 and 1901. He also participated in the Keller and Reiner Salon in 1901.
Angrand's Impressionist paintings of the early 1880s, generally depicting rural subjects and containing broken brushstrokes and light-filled colouration, reflect the influences of Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and Jules Bastien-Lepage. Through his interactions with Seurat, Signac, and others in the mid-1880s, his style evolved towards Neo-Impressionism. From 1887 his paintings were Neo-Impressionist and his drawings incorporated Seurat's tenebrist style. Angrand had the "ability to distil poetry from the most banal suburban scene". In 1887 he met van Gogh, who proposed a painting exchange (which ultimately did not happen). Van Gogh was influenced by Angrand's thick brushstrokes and Japanese-inspired compositional asymmetry. Also in 1887, L'Accident, his first Divisionist painting, was exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants. Angrand joined Seurat in plein air painting on La Grande Jatte island.
Angrand's implementation of Pointillist techniques differed from that of some of its leading proponents. He painted with a more muted palette than Seurat and Signac, who used bright contrasting colours. As seen in Couple in the street, Angrand used dots of various colours to enhance shadows and provide the proper tone, while avoiding the violent colouration found in many other Neo-Impressionist works. His monochrome conté crayon drawings such as his self-portrait above, which also demonstrate his delicate handling of light and shadow, were assessed by Signac: "... his drawings are masterpieces. It would be impossible to imagine a better use of white and black ... These are the most beautiful drawings, poems of light, of fine composition and execution."
Angrand exhibited his work in Paris at Les Indépendants, Galerie Druet, Galérie Durand-Ruel, and Bernheim-Jeune, and also in Rouen. His work appeared in Brussels in an 1891 show with Les XX.In the early 1890s, he abandoned painting, instead creating conté drawings and pastels of subjects including rural scenes and depictions of mother and child, realized in dark Symbolist intensity. During this period, he also drew illustrations for anarchist publications such as Les Temps nouveaux; other Neo-Impressionists contributing to these publications included Signac, Luce, and Théo van Rysselberghe.
After 1886 Angrand masterfully applied the Pointillist, Divisionist technique with almost scientific precision to works such as Locomotive on the Move and Turkey Keeper. At the same time he demonstrated his knowledge of the laws of simultaneous contrast. In his charcoal drawings, black is used to make the inner areas of light shine more brightly, giving these works a highly emotive feel. From 1900 onward he abandoned this systematic Neo-Impressionist style, and gave free rein to a broader, freer technique, which is particularly discernible in his charcoal and pastel drawings.
In 1896 he moved to Saint-Laurent-en-Caux, in Upper Normandy. He began painting again around 1906, emulating the styles and colours of Signac and Cross. Angrand developed his own unique methods of Divisionism, with larger brushstrokes. As this resulted in rougher optical blending than small dots, he compensated by using more intense colours. Some of his landscapes from this period are almost nonrepresentational. Before World War I, he lived for a year in Dieppe. Then he moved back to Rouen, living there for the rest of his life. He was very reclusive for his last thirty years, but remained a dedicated correspondent. Angrand died in Rouen on 1 April 1926. He is buried in Cimetière monumental de Rouen.
In 1927 the Salon des Artistes Indépendants held a major retrospective exhibition of his works, featuring some of his most important canvases, such as Woman with a Cabbage, Harbour, and Procession.
2006, Charles Angrand, Musée Tavet-Delacour, Pontoise (retrospective)
Museum and Gallery Holdings
Geneva (Petit Palais): Harvest (1887)
Paris (MAM): White House (pastel)
Ateneum (Finnish National Gallery),
Cleveland Museum of Art,
Indianapolis Museum of Art,
Metropolitan Museum of Art,
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek