Paris 1841 – Orly 1927
Road and Railway
Oil on canvas
73.3 x 100.5 cm
Gift of a Toronto admirer, in memory of Bernard Lamarre, a patron of the arts, inv. 2018.14
The presence of electrical wires, a train and horse-drawn cart in this painting demonstrates Armand Guillaumin’s desire to portray the encroachment of industrialization on the outskirts of Paris, an important subject for many Impressionist painters. Such subjects, along with bridges and viaducts, were of particular interest to this Parisian-born artist, who worked initially for the Paris-Orléans Railway and later for the Department of Roads and Bridges. Unable to make a living from the sale of his paintings – although Dr. Paul Gachet, famously portrayed by Guillaumin’s friend Vincent van Gogh, collected many of his works – he chose to work at night, which allowed him to devote time during the day to plein-air landscape painting. It was only after winning the French national lottery later in life that he became a full-time artist, travelling widely in France as he was drawn to the distinctive landscapes of its various regions.