Charles Angrand: important member of the neo-impressionist movement.

Charles Théophile Angrand (1854 - 1926), born in the Normandy, moved in 1882 to Paris and established friendly contacts with Seurat, Signac, Luce and Cross. He was an important member of the Parisian avant-garde art scene in the late 1880s and early 1890s.


Like his friends, he devoted much time to studying optical effects, the division of tone, and analyzed color and light. He made many pleine-air studies, worked with Seurat on the Island of Grande Jatte, painted landscapes and views of Parisian suburbs, using the pointillist technique.


His life

Born 19 April 1854 in Criquetot-sur-Ouville, Normandy, France
Died 1 April 1926 in Rouen, Normandy, France


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 such luminaries as 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.


His Impressionist paintings of the early 1880s, generally depicting rural subjects and containing broken brushstrokes and light-filled colouration, reflect the influences of Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro. 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. 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."


He 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.


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.



Charles Angrand | His Life and work | Download as a PDF



Paintings in museum collections

Château-Musée Dieppe (dessin port de Dieppe, le chalutier)
Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, USA
Hecht Museum, Haifa, Israel
Musée d'Orsay, Paris (3)
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen (2)
Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'archéologie, Besançon (2)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Self-Portrait, 1892, Conté crayon on paper)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
National Gallery, London, UK (The Western Railway at its Exit from Paris, 1886)
Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana
Statens Museum for Kunst (National Gallery of Denmark), Copenhagen
Valtion Taidemuseo (Finnish National Gallery), Helsinki, Finland



Musée de Pontoise, 1er avril - 2 juillet 2006
The exhibition catalog presents a wide range of paintings, pastels, charcoal and pencil drawings by Charles Angrand.



Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov, The Early work of Charles Angrand and his contact with Vincent van Gogh, Éditions Victorine, Utrecht, 1971

Charles Angrand 1854-1926, Château-musée de Dieppe, 1976

Catalogue Charles Angrand, Musée de Pontoise, 1er avril - 2 juillet 2006

François Lespinasse, Charles Angrand, 1854-1926, Lecerf, Rouen, 1982

Charles Angrand et François Lespinasse, Correspondances, 1883-1926, F. Lespinasse, Rouen, 1988 (ISBN 2906130001)

Christophe Duvivier, François Lespinasse et Adèle Lespinasse, Charles Angrand, 1854-1926, Paris et Pontoise, 2006 (ISBN 2-85056-976-3)

Russell T. Clement, Annick Houze : Neo-Impressionist Painters, A Sourcebook on Georges Seurat, Camille Pissarro, Paul Signac, Theo Van Rysselberghe, Henri Edmond Cross, Charles Angrand, Greenwood Publishing Group, Westport, 1999.