Joseph Le Tessier


by Noël Coret

The great majority of Joseph Le Tessier’s works belong to the still life and landscape genres. Yet, Joseph Le Tessier devoted most of his work to landscape.

Born in Marseille, he was destined for a high post in the commercial world when art literally “snapped him up”. In his first phase, he was an adept to Barbizon’s plain air painting and he adhered to the cloisonnism so dear to the École de Pont-Aven before definitively embracing the Monticelli and the École Lyonnaise tradition. Today, Joseph Le Tessier is regarded as the most prominent heir to that school’s great figures (Carrand, Vernay and Ravier) who, at the same time as the Ile-de-France impressionists, revolutionized painting at the end of the 19th century.

Settled in Noroy-sur-Ourq in 1933, Joseph Le Tessier spent the last fifteen years of his life celebrating the Orxois landscapes which he glorified with a rare chromatic intensity. The artist and his family lived in a small village perched in the heights of the Ourcq Valley between Neuilly-Saint-Front and La Ferté-Milon. Their utter destitution explains the artist’s use of very unsophisticated supports such as cardboard sheets or plywood panels, and the small size of his canvases. This peculiarity coupled with the extremely rich and powerful matter of his gleaming colors adds to the compelling originality of Le Tessier’s work. His expressionistic technique allowed his palette to reach utmost intensity attests an almost convulsive and dramatic approach to nature.

Praised by the most influential critics of his time, Joseph Le Tessier’s art is in the Monticelli, Ravier and Van Gogh tradition. It is also reminiscent of that Soutine and German Visionary Expressionism. With the presentation of a hundred paintings from private collections and museums, the town of Soissons is paying homage to a great local figure. Joseph Le Tessier applied most of his passion and talent to this very unique region (the south of the Aisne River).


Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon, France
Musée de la Chartreuse, Douai, France
Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec
National Museum of History and Art, Luxembourg
Town of Soissons Municipal Museum