Daubigny took to art like a duck takes to water

daubigny - springFrench artist Charles-François Daubigny is considered an important precursor of the Impressionistic Art movement. Born in Paris into a family of painters  on 15th February 1817, Daubigny was taught by his father Edmond François Daubigny and his uncle, miniaturist Pierre Daubigny. Initially François painted in a traditional style, but after moving to the Barbizon School in 1843 he began painting outdoor scenes along the Seine and Oise, often in the region around Auvers.

It was during this time that Daubigny bought a boat Botin, which he turned into his studio. By 1852 he came under the influence of both Gustave Courbet and Camille Corot in Optevoz (Isère). In 1866 he visited England, eventually returning to France due to the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. It was during his London visit that he met Claude Monet and on his return to Auvers, he met Paul Cézanne.

  • Daubigny’s finest pictures were painted between 1864-1874, which were predominantly landscapes featuring trees, a river and a few ducks.
  • Although there are two large landscapes by Daubigny in the Louvre in Paris; neither contain a river view.  One of these is: Springtime (1857) – featured above.

daubigny marsh at sunset 1861It has been said that when Daubigny liked his pictures he added another duck or two. Therefore, the greater number of ducks often indicated greater appreciation of his work.

Above is Marsh at Sunset (1861) which features by my count up to 16 ducks, so maybe this indicates that he was more than appreciative of this work.

  • Daubigny became an Officer of the Legion of Honor.  He died in Paris on 19th February, 1878 and was interred at Cimetière du Père-Lachaise (Division 24).

I wonder, is Daubigny’s success and artistic merit based on the ducks of the class (in his paintings); or on his sheer artistic talent –  to make him the Dux of the Class?

  • The latter I’m sure!

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