Charles-François DaubignyA precursor to Impressionism
Charles-François Daubigny was a pioneer of plein-air painting who provided a link between the painters of the Barbizon School and the Impressionists. This was celebrated in 2016 with an exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum entitled “Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh: Impressions of Landscape”. He was a great champion of impressionist artists at a time when they had little official recognition.
I was not able to work in the several excursions and ascensions made in the neighborhood, where it was very beautiful. One is so surprised by these grand aspects that it would be necessary to remain a long time before finding the interpretation capable of rendering them. I am going to finish the season at Auvers. There is nothing like one's natural every-day surroundings where one really takes pleasure. The pictures we do then feel the effect of their home-life, and the sweet sensations we experience in it.“
Charles-François Daubigny- Quote in Daubigny's letter to his friend Frédéric Henriet, 1872
Born into a family of painters and taught by his father Edmond François Daubigny and by his uncle, a miniaturist, Pierre Daubigny, Daubigny began painting en Plein air from around 1843 when he moved to Barbizon, in the footsteps of Corot. In 1866 Daubigny visited England, and returned there because of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870. He had met Claude Monet in London and together they left for the Netherlands. Daubigny was to provide both inspiration and support to Monet and his fellow Impressionists during their long years of struggle, a lone voice in their favour on the Salon juries of
the 1860s. He later met Paul Cézanne in Auvers-sur-Oise, where he executed a number of his works.
Characterised by a unique use of light effects and fluid brushstrokes, Daubigny, through his practice,
conveys a feeling of spontaneity and truthfulness.
His work focuses on an emotional response to the landscape, breaking away from the traditional
‘salon’ paintings that depict historical scenes and portraits. Much time was spent on his studio
boat, which was another of the artist’s significant innovation to capture the transitional character of
nature and paved the way for new experiments in landscape painting.
His endeavours with colours and light will herald him as one of the most significant landscape
painters of the 19th century and entice impressionist artists to reflect on new subject matters and
Charles Baudelaire wrote that Daubigny’s landscapes “instantly convey to the viewer’s soul the
original emotion with which they are imbued”.
His works can be seen in numerous museums worldwide including the Louvre, Paris; The National
Gallery, London; the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York;
the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Charles François DaubignyLes gardeuses d'oies, 1874Signed and dated lower right ‘1874’Oil on panel38.9 x 67.1 cm
15 5/16 x 26 7/16 inches
Charles François DaubignyVillerville, 1874Signed lower rightOil on canvas38.4 x 67.1 cm
15 1/8 x 26 7/16 inches
Charles François Daubigny,
Marée basse à Villerville, 1873
Oil on canvas
37 x 67 cm
14 ½ x 26 3/8 inches