Geometries of Dordogne: Marguerite Louppe's Landscapes

Rosenberg & Co.
Jun 27, 2022 7:50PM

Marguerite Louppe was a midcentury French artist who balanced traditional figuration with modernist methods of abstraction. Rosenberg & Co. is pleased to present Marguerite Louppe: Diagramming Space, the artist's first solo exhibition in the United States.

"A hidden geometry regulates the space of [Dordogne], and it is through these long-gone architects’ hands that Marguerite Louppe discovered a fitting subject for her later paintings, one that she would investigate for the last 30 years of her working life.”

—William Corwin

Marguerite Louppe (1902–1988) was born in Commercy, in eastern France. Soon after her birth, the family moved to Paris, and Louppe pursued her artistic education in the various independent art schools, including the Académie Julian, between 1918 and 1926. In the late 1950s, after living in Paris for over thirty years, Louppe and her husband Maurice Brianchon moved to their newly purchased country home in Dordogne, in southwest France. This shift proved monumental for Louppe’s artistic practice and output: in this slower pace of life surrounded by a dynamic landscape, she expanded and deepened her experimentations with perspective, juxtapositions of color, and fragmentations of space.

The roads, farms, and houses in the Dordogne countryside formed a striking, consistent visual language in their unique architecture. Over the years, arches, pillars, and other elements were added to existing structures in the hamlet, creating a potent vernacular of architectural geometries in the landscape that Louppe increasingly drew upon in her work. This influence is especially evident in her landscape paintings, where she often extends the diagonal lines of rooftops, bricks, or walls to delineate space and perspective—in effect, translating the geometries of her new setting into her compositions.

The stimulating view from her Dordogne home was not the only catalyst for a shift in her work. For the first time, Louppe had a studio of her own. The two-story space, attached to the main house, was filled with light—and enough space for Louppe to work on several canvasses simultaneously. Just as their new, separate studio spaces led to a rich and productive exchange of artistic ideas between Louppe and Brianchon, it is likely that the ability to explore multiple techniques on multiple paintings allowed for a similarly enriching exchange between Louppe’s canvasses themselves.

It is an oversimplification to record any artist’s life and work as a linear trajectory from young and experimental to mature and resolute; similarly, though Louppe’s work progressed noticeably after her move to the French countryside, the landscapes and interiors she painted in Dordogne should not be considered a culmination of her career—nor a settling into one set of artistic techniques, inspirations, or subjects. Instead, as she became more practiced, skilled, and dedicated over time, she continued to widen her exploration of her craft, often drawing from numerous sources of inspiration from her artistic background. The Cubist-inspired diagonals she employed to fragment the sky and buildings inVue des buis à Truffières,for example, are paired with lush, unblended, Impressionist-like brushstrokes she employed to depict the hedges in the foreground.

Ultimately, the high volume of paintings Louppe produced following her move to the countryside is testament to the focus and inspiration she found there. The hamlet’s architectural dynamism and natural vitality fueled her constant engagement with line, color, geometry, and composition; her private studio space provided her the liberation to deepen her artistic inquiries. These elements evidently provided Louppe with fulfillment and success in her practice, and she continued to realize the inspirations of the Dordogne landscape within her paintings for the rest of her career.

Marguerite Louppe: Diagramming Space is on view through July 8, 2022 at Rosenberg & Co., New York. To learn more about the artist, visit the Estate of Marguerite Louppe and Maurice Brianchon website here.

Rosenberg & Co.