LOUIS-GABRIEL MOREAU, Called MOREAU L’AÎNÉ (Paris 1740 – Paris 1806)
Huntsmen in a Landscape at Dawn and a Promenade in a Park at Dusk: A Set of Pendants
Huntsmen signed with initials LM and dated 1784 in the lower right
bothgouache on paper
Huntsmen sight size: 8/14 x 11/38 inches (19.5 x 26.5 cm.)
Promenade sight size: 8 15/16 x 12 1/16 inches (22.5 x 31 cm.)
Private Collection, New York
Louis-Gabriel Moreau is one of the leading Parisian landscape artists of the second half of the eighteenth century. He began his apprenticeship under the architectural painter Pierre-Antoine Demachy from whom he acquired the traditional taste for landscapes decorated with classical elements, but more importantly the custom of painting views of Paris and the surrounding environs. Undoubtedly caught up by the pervasive romanticism of the period, Moreau reinvented these scenes with a heightened sensitivity to nature’s nuances and populated them with small elegant figures. Nature had come to be regarded as a haven for sensual and spiritual pleasure. Fields, woods and streams or the neglected areas of parks, dotted with fountains and fragments of the antique recalling a now lost golden age, became the embodiment of the desired escape from everyday reality.  These types of works captured the public’s imagination and it was exactly the kind of visions at which Moreau excelled and our pendants typify.
The artist exhibited for the first time at L’Exposition de la Jeunesse in 1761. In 1764 he joined the Académie de Saint-Luc, exhibiting architectural landscapes and quickly rose to the position of officer in the Academy. In 1770 he married Marie-Catherine Villemont. In 1774 he again showed at the Académie de Saint-Luc and in 1778 at the Salon de la Correspondence. Moreau was named painter to the Comte d’Artois, the younger brother of Louis XVI. He tried in vain in 1787 and 1788 to gain admission to the Académie Royale, but landscape painters were routinely disallowed and further barred from participation in the Salons. The Revolution put an end to this practice and Moreau exhibited at the Salons of 1791, 1793, 1795, 1796 and 1799, with his final showing in 1804.
Although the artist did paint in oils, it is his work in gouache that is most prized. As with these works, he typically applied a ground of grey or blue as the initial base of a work, much as one would prime a canvas. This served to neutralize the texture of the paper, but was also mixed with the general palette of the composition. Gouache is a demanding technique, each stroke’s placement must be controlled as it dries quickly and cannot be reworked, but it was the one that Moreau preferred and mastered. 
 William Howard Adams, The French Garden 1500-1800, George Braziller, New York, 1979, pp. 109, 114, & 138.
 Eunice Williams, “Louis-Gabriel Moreau, called Moreau L’Aîné” in Claude to Corot, The Development of Landscape Painting in France, catalogue Colnaghi, New York, November – December 15, 1990, p. 220.