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Gustave Courbet 2: The group
Before the young Gustave Courbet (1819–1877) had even completed The Stone Breakers, he had already started work on an even greater masterpiece, A Burial at Ornans, one of the canonical paintings of the century. Gustave Courbet (1819–1877), A Burial at Ornans (1849-50), oil on canvas, 315 x 668 cm,... Read more
Truth in (landscape) painting 3
Paul Cézanne has been repeatedly described as the ‘father’ of several of the major movements in painting which dominated its development in the twentieth century. Whether you particularly like his landscape works or not, he was a great influence and repays careful study. Over his 40 years or so... Read more
Favourite Paintings 7: Camille Pissarro, Setting Sun and Fog, Éragny, 1891
A simply golden landscape at sunset, by the central figure in Impressionism and father of Post-Impressionism. Painter Jacob Abraham Camille Pissarro Painting Setting Sun and Fog, Éragny Year 1891 Media oil on canvas Dimensions 54 x 65 cm (21.3 x 25.6 in) Collection Private collection The Painting Sunset behind... Read more
Beyond the French Impressionists: 16 Britain, Turner, Steer
Compared with most other European countries, Impressionism largely passed British painters by. This is surprising given the popularity and influence of John Constable and JWM Turner earlier in the nineteenth century, and the presence of two American painters of great distinction and popularity in London: John Singer Sargent (in... Read more
Book review: Inspiring Impressionism, Daubigny, Monet, van Gogh, by Ambrosini et al.
“Inspiring Impressionism: Daubigny, Monet, van Gogh” Lynne Ambrosini, Nienke Bakker, René Boitelle, Michael Clarke, Maite van Dijk, and Frances Fowle National Galleries of Scotland, March 2016 Softback, 26.7 x 24.8 cm (10.5 x 9.75 in), 176 pp., £27.93/$39.95 ISBN 978 1 906270 86 5 Not available for Kindle, nor... Read more
The coming year in painting: Degas, Murillo, and more
The new year has some anniversaries of major painters which I will be marking with articles here. Here is a sampling of some of the painters whose work I will be looking at, and a few examples of the paintings in store for the coming year. Of these anniversaries,... Read more
Charles-François Daubigny: the first Impressionist? 1
If I had to put a single name forward as the first Impressionist, it would have to be Charles-François Daubigny, who was born two centuries ago, on 15 February 1817, in Paris. To celebrate his bicentenary – the first bicentenary of any of the French Impressionists – I offer... Read more
Charles-François Daubigny: the first Impressionist? 2
Two hundred years ago today, Charles-François Daubigny was born in Paris. My previous article traced his career up to 1863, and showed a small selection of his paintings. This article concludes that account. In 1865, Daubigny visited London, where he had lunch with Whistler. Back in France, he continued... Read more
Painting the Impossible: Gone with the Wind – land and sea
One not uncommon English phrase to express futility and difficulty is to say that it’s like painting the wind. As we are now at that time of year when the wind tends to blow strongest, I thought it might be interesting to examine the evidence for that figure of... Read more
Jean-François Millet: Ploughing a lonely furrow 1837-1852
Having just looked at the life and work of Jules Breton, I come to attempt the same for the other great French ‘social realist’ painter of the mid-nineteenth century, Jean-François Millet (1814–1875). I don’t see art as competitive, but those who feel it necessary to make comparisons, and claim... Read more