Oil on panel
10 1/2 x 23 1/2 inches (26.7 x 60 cm)
Signed: Karl Daubigny 1873
Born in Paris in 1846, Karl Pierre Daubigny was the son of the highly regarded painter, Charles Francois Daubigny. Taught by his father and embracing a similar aesthetic, Karl Daubigny traveled the French countryside painting, working primarily in Auvers, Normandy and Fontainebleau. At the age of 17, Karl debuted at the Paris Salon with the painting Le Sentier et l’Ile de Vaux-sur-l’Oise . By the age of 22 he had already won several medals at the Salon. Karl Daubigny died prematurely at the age of 40. His prolific contribution to the second generation of Barbizon painters is evident in his ability to convey, through his painting, his devotion to and love of nature.
Our painting is a sensitive, richly colored depiction of the French countryside. Karl Pierre Daubigny has depicted an expansive landscape in which grassy banks flow gently into the edges of the river, including a sloping grassy expanse in the background. To the left, a tree’s long feathery branches are stretching up into the pink sky thus elegantly breaking the horizontal composition. The time is late afternoon or early evening, which is indicated by the quality of light found in the sky, and by the long shadows cast across the calm river waters. The billowy clouds unfurl across the horizon line, framed by the pink and light blue tinged sky. Daubigny’s gift for the relation of natural beauty is brilliantly exemplified here. The artist deftly portrays the subtle interplay of colors found at sunset. He is using a palette infused with purple, blue, green and brown. Simultaneously, he skillfully achieves a harmony of shapes, and patterns of light and shadow that visually anchor the painting for the viewer. But the painting’s exemplification of technical mastery is hardly the main thing one notices in viewing the landscape. As the viewer’s eye travels from the cottony lavender clouds to the birds dipping near the water’s surface, the luminous colors melt into a place of serene tranquility and timeless beauty.