Oil on canvas
15.5 x 22.5 inches (39.4 x 57.2 cm)
Private collection, France
Paul-Desiré Trouillebert was born in Paris in 1829. In addition to being a landscapist, he also painted portraits and nudes. The influence of Corot is very much evident in his works. In fact, Trouillebert first came into the limelight when one of his paintings was sold to Alexandre Dumas’s son as a work by Corot. The younger Dumas was misled by the similarities of composition and style of the two painters’ techniques.
After studying with Jallabert and d’Herbert, Trouillebert made his Salon debut in 1865 and exhibited his first landscape in 1869. He continued to enter paintings for many years thereafter. Despite the many comparisons made to Corot’s work, Trouillebert was an artist of great talent whose landscapes, bathed in a soft light achieved by the use of delicate tonal values, were sought after across Europe and America during his lifetime..
In Chemin au bord de la seine a Herme, Trouillebert shows his adeptness at the use of subtly varying tonal values to create soft shifts in light and atmosphere and distinctions between image and reflection. At right, a fisherman emerges from shadowed trees into the sunlight along a river’s edge. The white highlights of his fishing pole, cap and shirt stand out against the dark foliage behind him and are repeated in the white bark of three young birch trees that stand along the river in the sun. He looks down toward his boat, tied to a steak on the bank of the river. The lush greenery and white flowers along the bank are reflected in tones of green and umber in the smooth water. Green tones shift to silver and gray as the river recedes into the distance at the left of the composition, revealing Trouillebert’s sensitivity to natural effects.