Gabriel Loppé (1825-1913)
Painter, photographer and alpinist
Born in Montpellier, Gabriel Loppé was the first artist to be both an accomplished mountaineer and to paint at altitude. He climbed Mont Blanc many times and painted on its summit on at least three separate occasions. For over sixty years Loppé spent his summers in Chamonix where he climbed and painted en plein air and through his annual participation in the Alpine Club’s exhibitions in London, Loppé gained an international reputation as a peintre-alpiniste. Epitomising the spirit of the Golden Age of mountaineering, his pictures combine the thrill of discovering the Alps with an unrivalled ability to capture snow and ice.
Together with Monet and Courbet, Loppé was also a precursor and innovator in painting wintry and snowy landscapes. Through his paintings, photographs and drawings, we can follow the artist and also the man as he travelled through a rapidly changing world, ever alert to the numerous technical innovations of his time.
As a consequence of his pioneering photographs Loppé was one of the first users and recorders of steam trains and the ‘electric fairy’ that transformed urban life.