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Charles Lacoste


In many of Charles Lacoste’s (1870–1959) paintings the landscape or urban view is masked in a fine mist. By simplifying the forms he produced dreamlike images in the Symbolist spirit out of a modern townscape, sometimes also creating a sense of unease in the viewer, as in his best-known work The Shadow Hand.

Lacoste was the son of an accountant from Bordeaux and a Creole mother. He was largely self-taught and moved in the same artistic circles as the composer Henri Duparc and the writer André Gide. His works reflect a melancholy vision of nature, inspired initially by frequent trips to London in the fog. He transformed reality through a process of simplification, creating dreamlike, often disturbing images of the modern city.

In 1901 Lacoste moved permanently to Paris, where he lived until 1914, exhibiting his work at the Salon des Indépendants. He was a founder member of the Salon d’Automne and he also exhibited with the avant-garde group La Libre Esthétique in Brussels in 1907 and at the Salon de la Toison d’Or, Moscow in 1908. He later moved to Monein and finally Pardies in southwest France, where he is buried.