Ferdinand du Puigaudeau was born in Nantes in 1864. His early art schooling was greatly supplemented by extensive traveling in Rome, Flanders, and Venice. His artistic development prompted his return to France and to Pont-Aven in 1888. He was strongly influenced by the style of Monet and Renoir.
In the 1880s, the religious traditions, mystical practices and distinctive culture of the region of Brittany attracted painters from all over Europe and America. This creative haven gave birth to the Ecole de Pont Aven and a new pictorial style employing vivid color, simplified spatial arrangement and sharply defined forms. In 1888, the young painter from Nantes travelled to Pont Aven and, like numerous artists, moved into the inexpensive Pension Gloanec where he met Gauguin, Bernard and Laval. Du Puigaudeau planned to accompany his friends Gauguin and Laval to Panama, but was unable due to military service.
Influenced by Gauguin, the Impressionists, and Pointillism, du Puigaudeau developed a distinctive style emphasizing and experimenting with the effects of light in night scenes, fireworks, and evening Breton carnival imagery, as well as sunrise, sunset and moonlit coastal views. The symbolism and poetry of nature are translated by ethereal color harmonies often depicting a series of the same locale throughout various times of day. In 1895, du Puigaudeau abandoned the Pointillists for the beautiful color and brushwork of the Impressionists. His work as it approaches complete maturity is wholly Impressionistic, with his brilliant color flooding countless canvases.
Having suffered several financial setbacks which destroyed his career, he settled in Kervaudu and lived in artistic seclusion, continuing to paint beautiful landscapes. Degas often affectionately referred to du Puigaudeau as the Hermit of Kervaudu. His works are in the permanent collections of the Musèe de Pont Aven, Musèe des Beaux Arts, Nantes, Musèe de Jacobins, Morlaix, and the Collection de la Ville de Saint Nazaire.
Du Puigaudeau’s close friendship with Degas was an important factor in his life. At the sale of the Degas Collection in Paris in 1918, du Puigaudeau’s painting Le Feu d’Artifice was sold. In 1961, in an exhibition of Gauguin et Ses Amis held at the Hôtel de Ville at Pont-Aven, seven paintings by du Puigaudeau were shown. One year after du Puigaudeau’s death in 1930 a large retrospective of his work was held at the Galerie Dru in Paris.
Exhibitions: Gauguin et Ses Amis, Hôtel de Ville, Pont-Aven, France, 1961 Retrospective, Galerie Dru, Paris, France, 1931
Museums/Collections: Musèe de Pont Aven, France Musèe des Beaux Arts, Nantes, France Musèe de Jacobins, Morlaix, France Collection de la Ville de Saint Nazaire, France