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 Victor De Grailly  (1804 - 1889)

About: Victor De Grailly


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Lived/Active: New York / Unknown Country/France      Known for: romantic landscape

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BIOGRAPHY for Victor De Grailly
1804 (Paris, France)
1889 (France)

New York / Unknown Country/France

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romantic landscape

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
French painter Victor de Grailly, 1804-1889, working in a Hudson River School landscape style, is said to have lived in the United States from 1840 to 1870, but, according to Peter Falk, "no evidence has been found to confirm this statement".

Most of his paintings of American scenes were based on engravings he saw in France in William Henry Bartlett's book, American Scenery, London, 1840.  De Grailly studied in France with neo-classical landscape painter Victor Bertin, whose influence remained with De Grailly, although a more romantic feeling developed in his later work.

According to one source, De Grailly was also profoundly influenced by a trip to the United States and a journey up the Hudson River that he made as a young man, painting scenes of the Hudson based on Bartlett prints.

He first exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1833 and continued to exhibit, but with less frequency, until 1880.  De Grailly was only moderately responsive to the Barbizon painters, preferring to paint in the idealized landscape style he learned from Bertin.

Victor De Grailly's work was included in the exhibition, "All That Is Glorious Around Us: Paintings From The Hudson River School", that traveled to the Westmoreland Museum of Art, Greensburg, Pennsylvania, August 10 - October 26, 1997; Palmer Museum of Art, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, January 20 - May 17, 1998; Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts, March 13 - June 27, 1999; and the National Academy of Design, New York City, July 14 - September 12, 1999.  A book of the same title was written by John Driscoll and published by Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London, in 1997.

De Grailly's work was also shown in an exhibition in 2003 of 19th-Century paintings from public and private collections, Poetic Joining: The Hudson River and the Highlands, at the Putnam County Historical Society and Foundry School Museum, Cold Spring, New York.


This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following information was submitted in October 2006 by Kate Ogden:

"Although it is thought that deGrailly never visited America, the back of Gowanus Heights [c.1840, Long Island Historical Society] bears the stamp of the New York City canvas maker Edward Dechaux."

"Another version of a View from Gowanus Heights in a private collection, apparently exact in every detail to The Long Island Historical Society's painting, is presently attributed to the French painter Leon Garnier.  Pending further research, one can only speculate that deGrailly and Garnier were associated."

Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser, Entry for Victor deGrailly, Brooklyn Before the Bridge: American Paintings from the Long Island Historical Society (Exhibition catalog, The Brooklyn Museum, 1982), p.48.

Biography from Godel & Co. Fine Art, Inc.:
French artist Victor DeGrailly gained considerable popularity in the United States for his landscape paintings of American views.  Although there is some speculation that DeGrailly may have been in the United States from 1840 to 1870, there is no concrete evidence to support this as many of DeGrailly's American landscapes were based on engravings from British artist-adventurer William Henry Bartlett's American Scenery series published in London in 1840.

Nevertheless, DeGrailly's lively scenes found a ready audience in the United States, and his work was exhibited in locales as diverse as Charleston, South Carolina; Baltimore, Toronto, New York, Brooklyn, Albany, and Sandusky, Ohio.

In 1854, a number of his paintings were auctioned in Portland, Maine.

DeGrailly was born in Paris and began his art studies under Jean Victor Bertin, a neo-classical landscape painter who also taught Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot.  DeGrailly first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1833, where he continued to show his paintings until 1880.  He made copies of works by Claude Lorrain, but also painted original compositions of French, Italian, and British landscapes.

His paintings can be found in important public collections, including The White House, Baltimore Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Farnsworth Museum of Art, Portland Museum of Art, New-York Historical Society, and the West Point Museum.

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