Charles-Francois Daubigny (1817-1878)

French

An artist of importance, well represented in the top museums of the world, the works of Daubigny appeal to universal commonalities beyond nationality and race. From French shores and river banks he helped initiate the Plein-Air activity of painting while in connection to the selected environment, often composing works directly from his houseboat on the Seine and Oise rivers.

Counted among the most influential members of the Barbizon School led by Theodore Rousseau, Daubigny personified their disdain for the traditional academy dictums. Their landscape and seascape views avoid overly romantic or traditional interpretations while keeping a realistic connection in their emotive brushwork. Many consider this the school’s strongest influence.

Daubigny continued to evolve his individual style throughout his lifetime of painting. The important French critic Jules-Antoine Castagnary applauded the dynamic approach of Daubigny and the Barbizon painters. Receiving such praise in the face of his innovations actually drove him further away from the traditional avenues of the salons. In commenting on the 1877 Paris salon, (the last the artist would participate in), the critic wrote positively of Daubigny’s essence of light and bold presentations. He also noted that it was “strange, this artist becomes more daring as he grows older.”

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