Musée d'Orsay: Henri Ottmann The Luxembourg Station in Brussels

Henri Ottmann
The Luxembourg Station in Brussels

The Luxembourg Station in Brussels
Henri Ottmann (1877-1927)
The Luxembourg Station in Brussels
Oil on canvas
H. 80; W. 110 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Gérard Blot

La gare du Luxembourg à Bruxelles [The Luxembourg Station in Brussels]

Henri Ottmann worked in Brussels at the beginning of the 20th century. It was here at the Salon of Free Aesthetics in 1903 that he first exhibited three views of the Luxembourg station, painted in different weather conditions (wind, frost, fog). It is highly probable that this painting was one of these.

The Luxembourg station still exists today. Trains for Namur and the South of Belgium leave from here. This work would have been painted, or at least started, outdoors. The painter positioned himself on a bridge spanning the tracks to achieve this composition.
In his pre-First World War works, Ottmann was influenced by the French Impressionists. Here, his palette is reminiscent of Renoir, who Ottmann particularly admired. But there are also echoes of Monet, from whom he has taken the motif of the signal rising directly out of the frame (Track signals outside Saint-Lazare station, 1877, Hanover, Niedersachsisches Landesmuseum). The plunging perspective exposes a large space in the foreground where the artist can play with the repetition of the rail motif, in a purely decorative way.
Ottmann wanted to create large, ornamental paintings using modern subjects. The Luxembourg Station in Brussels reveals this ambition, in spite of its relatively modest dimensions.

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