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 Charles Francois Daubigny  (1817 - 1878)

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About: Charles Francois Daubigny
 

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Lived/Active: United States/France      Known for: bucolic landscape, marine and nocturne painting-luminous

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BIOGRAPHY for Charles Daubigny
Facts/Data
Birth
1817 (Paris, France)
 
Death
1878 (Paris, France)

Lived/Active
United States/France




Often Known For
bucolic landscape, marine and nocturne painting-luminous

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

A French landscapist of the Barbizon School, Charles-Francois Daubigny was born in 1817 in Paris.  In 1835, having received a small scholarship, he went to Italy, where he spent an unproductive year.  He earned a living by doing engravings for books and regularly sent to the Salon peaceful landscapes, painted in a highly detailed style, with great respect for nature.

In the 1840s, Daubigny worked for travel books and magazines, doing graphics of a candidness that showed his immediate vision of nature, increasingly dependent on fleeting optical visions.  As a successor to Corot, Dupre and Rousseau, he attracted the attention of critics.  Gradually, he began to sacrifice detail, painting with broad strokes and covering large areas at a time.  As time went on, Daubigny's manner became lighter and freer.  His last canvases reflect the spirit of the impressionists, if not their technique. Unlike his forerunners Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin, the gentle naturalist looked more to the effects of nature than to rearranging its contours into earthen architecture.  He sketched directly from nature, in the volative light and weather of the moment.

There was something exceptionally attractive about Daubigny, both as a man and as an artist.  A painter with a style that concealed all innovations in apparent conventionality, he easily achieved popularity with the public and was elected to the jury of the Salon.  There he waged a loyal and lonely fight to admit to the annual exhibitions the work of the younger and more radical painters.  During the Franco-Prussian War, he fled to England, where he persuaded his dealer, Durand-Ruel, who had opened a gallery in London, to try to sell the landscapes of an unknown and poverty-stricken artist, Claude Monet. Daubigny offered to exchange his own marketable canvases for any work by Monet that remained unsold.

The place Daubigny loved best was the village of Auver-sur-Oise, to which he returned every year.  Aboard his barge, a floating studio, he sometimes went down the Oise and the Seine.  In 1865, he spent the summer with Courbet, Monet and Boudin at Trouville. He died in 1878 in Paris.

Compiled and submitted August 2004 by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

Sources include:
Time Magazine, May 15, 1964
Phaidon Encyclopedia of Art and Artists
John Walker, Chief Curator, National Gallery of Art, from a review of "The Farm"

Biography from Anderson Galleries, Inc.:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Charles-Francois Daubigny was born in Paris on February 15, 1817.  His father Edme, and his Uncle Pierre were painters of some reputation, so it is not surprising that Daubigny’s interest in art was encouraged from an early age.  Because he was a sickly child, Daubigny’s parents arranged for him to live in the country in the small village of Valandmois.   It was during these childhood years with the Bazots—his adopted family and lifelong friends—that Daubigny’s love of the rural landscape began.

Daubigny’s earliest artistic experiences included the decoration of boxes and clocks and at the age of seventeen, restoring paintings at the Louvre under the direction of Francois Marius Granet.  His training was largely informal; his studies in the well-respected atelier of the artist Pierre Sentie were interrupted by a year-long painting sojourn in Italy with his friend and fellow artist, Henri Mignan.   In 1840, he spent a brief period under the tutelage of the academician Paul Delaroche.

His earliest successes, as well as a means of financial support, were his etchings and illustrations.  After winning his first Salon prize in 1848, the French government commissioned an etching from him after Claude Lorrain’s Abreuvoir. Daubigny’s first love, however, was landscape painting, and his fascination with water was evident judging from his Salon entries of the late 1840s and early 1850s.

Known for his spontaneity and broad painterly brushstroke, his work was often criticized for its sketchy quality.   In the Moniteur Universal, a popular daily, the critic, Grunn, wrote on June 20, 1852, “Is M. Daubigny afraid of ruining his work by finishing it?... I have a better opinion of his talent and I am convinced that a man who has begun so well could not finish badly.”

Unlike many of his contemporaries with whom he is closely associated due to their mutual concern with the study of nature, Daubigny spent little time in the region of Barbizon.  He traveled extensively in France, as well as to Spain and England.  In 1852, Daubigny met Jean-Baptiste Corot, and a long and enduring friendship, which included many painting excursions together throughout France and Switzerland.  The painter was most drawn, however, to the landscape of Valandmois, the place of his childhood, and the countryside of Auvers, where the artist would eventually make his home.

It was at Auvers in 1857 that Daubigny launched his studio boat, the Botin, from which he would produce his most memorable and popular paintings of the Oise. From this time, a difference could be seen in Daubigny’s work.  His ability to capture the simple beauty of the countryside was unchanged, but his brushstroke became shorter and more confident.  Though his work had finally found popular acceptance, criticism did not cease.

Daubigny’s position as a respected painter and prominent member of the artistic community was clearly recognized when in 1865, he was elected a member of the Salon Jury.   In this role, he was one of few who recognized the talents of a new generation of younger artists, and his influence was key in the acceptance of works by Pissarro, Monet, Sisley and Degas.

Daubigny died on February 19, 1878 in Paris, and according to his wishes, was buried next to his friend Corot at the Cemetery of Pere Lachaise.

Museum Collections Include:
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; National Gallery, Berlin, Germany; Museum of Fine Art, Budapest, Hungary; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Taft Museum, Cincinnati, OH; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; Chateau Museum, Dieppe, France; Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland; National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland; National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, Great Britain; Arnot Art Museum, Elmira, NY; Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX; Museum of the Groningen Region, Groningen, Netherlands; Hendrik Willem Mesdag National Museum, Hague, Netherlands; City and Land Art Galleries of Low Saxony, Hannover, Germany; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO; Wollrof Richartz Museum, Koln, Germany; Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA; Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, Portugal; Courtauld Institute Galleries, London, Great Britain; Grobet-Labadie Museum, Marseille, France; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow; Frick Collection, New York, NY; Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA; Snite Museum of Art, Notre Dame, IN; Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, OH; Melton Park Gallery, Oklahoma City, OK; Oklahoma City Art Museum, OK; Wheaton College, Norton, MA; Kroller-Muller National Museum, Otterloo, Netherlands; Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Great Britain; Musee d’Orsay, Paris, France; Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA; John G. Johnson Collection, Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ; Prague National Gallery, Prague, Czechoslovakia; Brigham Young University Fine Arts Collection, Provo, UT; Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY; Boymans and Van Beunigen Museum, Rotterdam, Netherlands; M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, CA; Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY; Southampton Art Gallery, Southampton, Great Britain; Washington University Gallery of Art, St. Louis, MO; University Art Collections, Tempe, AZ; Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, Museum of Art, Baltimore; Walters Museum, Baltimore; Boston Museum, Boston; Edinburgh Museum, Scotland; Glasgow Museum, Scotland; National Gallery, London; Tate Museum, London; Montreal Museum, Canada; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Louvre, Paris; National Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Corcoran Museum, Washington, D.C.; various French provincial museums

Biography from Schiller & Bodo European Paintings:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Charles François Daubigny was born in Paris on February 15, 1817.  His father and his uncle being painters of some reputation, it is not surprising that Daubigny’s interest in art was encouraged from an early age.  A sickly child, his parents arranged for him to live in the country in the small village of Valmondois.  It was during these childhood years with the Bazots, his adopted family and lifelong friends that Daubigny’s love of the rural landscape began. Daubigny’s earliest artistic experiences included the decoration of boxes and clocks and, at the age of 17, restoring paintings at the Louvre under the direction of Granet.  His training was largely informal; his studies in the well-respected atelier of the artist Sentie were interrupted by a year-long painting sojourn in Italy with his friend and fellow artist Henri Mignan.  In 1840, he spent a brief period under the tutelage of the academician Paul Delaroche.

His earliest successes, as well as a means of financial support, were his etchings and illustrations.  After winning his first Salon prize in 1848, the French government commissioned an etching from him after Claude Lorrain’s Abreuvoir.  Daubigny’s first love however, was landscape painting and his fascination with water was evident judging from his salon entries of the late 40’s and 50’s.  Known for his spontaneity and broad painterly brushstroke, his work was often criticized for its sketchy quality. In the Moniter Universel, a popular daily, the critic, Grunn, wrote on June 20, 1852, “Is M. Daubigny afraid of ruining his work by finishing it? . . . I have a better opinion of his talent and I am convinced that a man who has begun so well could not finish badly.”

Daubigny, unlike many of his contemporaries with whom he is closely associated due to their mutual concern with the study of nature, spent little time in the region of Barbizon.  He traveled extensively in France, as well as to Spain and England.  In 1852, Daubigny met Corot, and a long and enduring friendship, which included many painting excursions together throughout France and Switzerland, began.  The painter was most drawn, however, to the landscape of Valmondois, the place of his childhood and the countryside of Auvers, where the artist would eventually make his home.

It was Auvers in 1857 that Daubigny launched his studio boat, the Botin, from which he would produce his most memorable and popular paintings of the Oise. From this time, a difference could be seen in Daubigny’s work.  His ability to capture the simple beauty of the countryside was unchanged, but his brushstroke became shorter and more confident.  Though his work had finally found popular acceptance, criticism did not cease.  In 1861, Daubigny’s unique style of painting would be assaulted by Gautier, who accused him of painting only an “impression.”

Daubigny’s position as a respected painter and prominent member of the artistic community was clearly recognized when in 1865, he was elected a member of the Salon jury.  In this role, he was one of the few who recognized the talents of a new generation of younger artists, and his influence was key in the acceptance of works by Pissarro, Monet, Sisley, Degas.

Daubigny died on February 19, 1878, and according to his wishes, was buried next to his friend Corot at the Cemetery of Pere Lachais.

Biography from Odon Wagner Gallery:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Born into a family of artists, Charles Daubigny worked as a decorator of trinkets for a clockmaker and then as a restorer of paintings in the Louvre.  His formal training began when he entered the studio of Pierre Anasthasie Théodore Sentiès in 1835.  He also studied briefly with Paul Delaroche.

Daubigny traveled independently to Italy in 1836, before competing unsuccessfully for the Prix de Rome in historical landscape in 1837 and 1841.  He began exhibiting regularly at the Salon of 1838, making trips to the provinces each summer in search of landscape motifs.  He met Camille Corot on one such excursion to Crémieu in 1852. Although Daubigny achieved considerable success by the early 1850s, critics consistently complained about the rough execution and lack of finish in his landscapes.

In the autumn of 1857 he purchased his famous studio boat, the "Botin," which prompted him to turn increasingly to riverscapes.  Daubigny's career reached its apogee in 1859, when he received his third first-class medal at the Salon, was awarded a major commission to decorate a government office in the Louvre, and was named Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur.  Shortly thereafter, however, his fortunes began to decline as complaints over his sketchy execution intensified.

In 1865 Daubigny traveled to London, where he met James Whistler. and to Trouville, where Claude Monet, Gustave Courbet, and Eugene Boudin were also working. Daubigny was first elected to the Salon jury in 1866 and became notorious for his support of the younger generation, particularly Camille Pissarro, Paul Cezanne, and Pierre Renoir.  He resigned from the jury of the 1870 Salon over the rejection of a painting by Monet.

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