The older brother of the well-known draughtsman and graphic artist J. M. Moreau led a relatively inconspicuous life and accordingly received little notice. Regarded from the present day, however, he appears to have been one of the most gifted French landscape painters of his time. His contemporary Hubert Robert took an entirely different path, however: one that would lead directly to the art of a J. B. Corot.
L. G. Moreau became a pupil of De Machy, the Paris painter of ruins and architecture, in 1760, and was first trained in that field. Then in 1764 he was accepted into the Académie de Saint-Luc. His artistic career was unconventional, given the standards of the time, for he never travelled to Italy or became a member of the Paris Academy. Yet this did not prevent him from regularly exhibiting in the Salon after the Revolution, between 1795 and 1804.
Pure landscapes increasingly became Moreau's exclusive subject matter, whether in the form of overgrown parks, pastoral regions in the vicinity of Paris and the Ile de France, or abandoned estates. As opposed to the nostalgic scenery of Hubert Robert's ruins, L. G. Moreau used a certain degree of alienation and a deliberate atmosphere of enchantment and tranquillity. However, his chief interest was unspoiled nature, to which man and his structures were subordinate.
He painted, drew and made etchings; but Moreau achieved his finest works with gouache or a combination of gouache and watercolour. This mixed technique allowed him both vagueness and precise descriptive detail. With it, using sophisticated shading, he also achieved the soft lighting that makes his landscapes seem both realistic and idealised.