Private collection, France
Edmond Petitjean was born July 5, 1844, in Vosges. Petitjean made his debut at the Salon of 1874 and became a member of the Salon of French Artists in 1883. He exhibited in Munich in 1890. He was highly esteemed by colleagues and collectors, as evidenced by the many medals and honors he was awarded throughout his career; these include a First Class Medal at the 1884 Salon, Second Class Medal at the 1885 Salon, Silver Medal at the 1889 Exposition Universelle and first Class Gold Medal at the 1900 Exposition Universelle. Petitjean was made a Knight of the Legion of Honor in 1892.
Petitjean is best known for his landscapes and waterscapes of the Atlantic ports of France and of the Alsace-Lorraine regions in the east. Our painting, Etang devant une ville, possesses the serene naturalism characteristic of his best-known works. Two figures are seen on the banks of a pond within a composition anchored by the rich, green trees to the left. The softly rendered landscape extends into the distant hills. The painter’s keen sensitivity to light can be seen in the colorful highlights of the trees and water, and in his ability to masterfully combine it with an atmospheric rendering of the background.