|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
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Duvieux was an artist influenced by the interest in Orientalism, a
widespread preoccupation of many artists of the mid to late-nineteenth
century. Duvieux used his travels to depict his interest in landscape
and its effect, focusing less on the human element of Orientalism and
more on simply the landscape and architecture. In doing so, he kept
more of a distance between himself and the culture of the “Orient”. His
choice of imagery was popular not only because of its alliance with
Orientalism, but also because it allowed the public to acknowledge an
awareness of some sites the artist used.
Few details are known about his life, further complicated by the
fact that he rarely exhibited at the Parisian Salon. He was born in
1855 in Paris. He entered studies as a student of a Mr. Marilhat, often
cited as being Prosper Georges Antoine Marilhat, but this artist had
already died eight years before Duvieux was even born. Despite this,
his Salon entries do note that he was studying under a Marilhat, but
just which one, if there were more than one, remains a mystery.
Duvieux debuted at the Parisian Salon in 1880 with Vue de Venise (View of Venice) and Vue de Constantinople
(View of Constantinople), two oil paintings. Clearly Duvieux was an
avid traveler, journeying as far as Constantinople searching for perfect
inspiration. He must have undertaken such adventurous trips as a
rather young man, since his Salon debut was at the age of twenty-five.
The frequency of Duvieux’s travel also is not known. He may have
traveled rather infrequently, collecting studies along the way and
executing them upon return to his studio. Or, he may have traveled
frequently and executed scenes on the spot. Perhaps he had a studio in
Venice, which would explain his frequent imagery from this site.
What can be said about this artist is that he relentlessly pursued
representations of both Venice and Constantinople throughout his career,
“according to the taste of the day” (Bénézit, Dictionnaire Critique des
Peintres… (Paris: Librairie Grund 1976), pg. 76). Some of these other
paintings based on Venice were Le Grand Canal a Venise (The Grand Canal at Venice), Coucher de Soleil a Venise (Setting Sun at Venice), and Panorama avec Voiliers et Gondoles a Venise (Panoramas with Sailboats and Gondolas in Venice), among many others. Another painting of Constantinople was Vue de Constantinople au Soleil Couchant (View of Constantinople with the Setting Sun).
He followed up his 1880 debut with another showing of Campement Arabe
(Arab Camp) in 1882. This was actually his last showing at the Salon.
Perhaps he did not take part in the Salons because he simply did not
need to, his travels and his commissions may have kept him busy enough
to support himself throughout his life. On the other hand, he may have
also taken part in provincial exhibitions but this has yet to be
Duvieux was endlessly fascinated by Venice and views of
Constantinople, albeit less so with the latter. The majority of these
views almost invariably incorporated aspects of the sea, somewhat in the
tradition of the eighteenth century artist Canaletto, but also recalls
his contemporary Felix Ziem, a nineteenth century French artist.
Duvieux used Impressionist color similar to Turner’s seascapes to convey
intense light and brilliant sunsets and sunrises. Architectural
elements were equally important to Duvieux, who render their details
with care and precision.
Far from being an artist reluctant to have his work appeal to a
large audience, these compositions would have been popular with the
tourist public who approved of this type of imagery. Just like the
proliferation of photographs and touristic postcards from foreign
countries, artists also produced works which served the same purpose and
proved very popular. Gerald Schurr commented that the “sensibility and
the skill of his sunsets of Bosphorus manage to make one forget the
slightly commercial aspect of his production of series....” (Schurr, Les
Petits Maîtres de la Peinture, Paris: Editions de l’Amateur, 1975)
Combined with the increasing ease of travel and subsequent surge in
traveling, Duvieux’s images found an audience seeking works that
reminded them of their travels or of the travels that they wished they
The salability of Duvieux’s images should not discredit his work,
however, since his output was extensive and he combined the elements of
Orientalism with established tradition of seascapes of earlier masters;
he also showed more modern tendencies in the execution of his work.
Sphinx Fine Art
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