Antique French portrait of a gentleman by Jacques Joseph Léopold Loustau (1815-1894). He was a deaf French painter of the nineteenth century, a student of the famous painters Hersent and Léon Cogniet. Painting of a man, portrayed in a standing pose in an interior parlor setting with his top hat and cane resting on the chair at right. Much attention to the fine details, which emphasize the era's top men's fashion and jewelry. The leather glove in one hand displaying his signet ring, the black vest and coat with delicate gold chain dangling from the pocket, vibrant blue caveat tie with red coral pin. Tiptop, down to the shine of his black leather boots. Signed and dated 'L.Loustau 1860' (lower right). Oil on Canvas. The reverse of this canvas bears the stamp , “ ANCIENNE MAISON / VALLE / BELLAVOINT / SUCCESSEUR / 3 RUE DE L'ARBE SEC / PARIS , ” which was the artists' supply shop. Housed in an opulent gilt wood gesso frame. Frame measures 30 1/2" x 25 1/2". Canvas measures 22" x 17". In overall good antique condition with general wear commensurate with age and use, surface craquelure, some paint loss around the edges near the frame.
About the artist:
Born on May 26, 1815 in Sarrelouis, a French town in Lorraine which was ceded to Prussia on November 20, 1815 following Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo. Léopold Loustau was deaf-mute from childhood, the son of a general steward of the Napoleonic army and the heir to a great industrialist in Lorraine metallurgy. He studied at the Institution for the Deaf-Mute in Nancy at the age of 14 in 1829 and remained until 1831. Léopold Loustau will be one of the first pupils of the Nancy institute created by Joseph Piroux, an educator and a pioneer in the education of the deaf. Very young, Léopold was gifted in drawing and painting. His parents, especially his mother, will encourage him in this way because it is also good way for him to express himself. He studied at the National School of Fine Arts under his teachers Louis Hersent and Léon Cogniet. Léon Cogniet gave advice on paintings but Léopold refused to obtain these benefits for his own, Léopold convinces him to teach painting to other deaf people at the National Institute for Deaf Youth and the master accepted. Among the deaf students, a promising painter was Frédéric Peyson. Léopold made his first exhibition at the Salon of 1838 followed by many others because he is a recognized and appreciated painter. He painted mostly portraits but also landscapes, and produced many paintings and exhibited regularly at the Salon until his death. Several paintings are purchased by the State. He fought for the cause of the deaf and there are several archives on him in the historical library of the INJS. On June 4, 1894, he died of a stroke while painting at his studio. "It was while working that he suffered from a stroke. Death must have been instantaneous, for we found him at half past three, in his armchair, in the position of a reclining person, his artist's palette dropped to the right and his brushes in front of him" written by Henry Leguay, son-in-law and mayor of Chevreuse at that time. Written by his ancestor is a wonderful biography on the artist that also details the history of the deaf-mute in France. Titled: "L' oeil écoute: Biographie de Léopold Loustau ; Artiste-Peintre sourd-muet (1815-1894)" by Jean-Pierre Leguay.