Aug 29, 2022

Spotlight on the Permanent Collection: Summer 2022

Daubigny Charles Francois Landscape Stormy Sky 2018 6 HIGH RES

Charles-François Daubigny (1817-1878)

Landscape, Stormy Sky

French, ca. 1865 | Oil on canvas | Gift of Hedda Adler Schwartz, 2018.6

Charles-François Daubigny dedicated his career to a prolonged investigation of the French landscape. After receiving traditional artistic training in the studio of his father, Edme-François Daubigny, and later working under Paul Delaroche, the younger Daubigny moved to Barbizon, a small town at the edge of the Forest of Fontainebleau, where he painted en plein air. Daubigny met fellow landscape painter Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot in 1852 and along with Théodore Rousseau and other artists depicting rural France, they became known as the Barbizon School. The group’s commitment to painting outdoors and capturing an unvarnished view of their environment had a significant influence on a younger generation of artists, including Claude Monet. Daubigny in particular strove to integrate himself in the landscape and capture the ephemeral effects of weather and atmosphere. He renovated a boat and turned it into a floating studio, painting views along the rivers Seine and Oise.

In Landscape, Stormy Sky, Daubigny deftly articulates the approach of a late afternoon summer storm, a common occurrence in the valley of central France. Dark clouds fill the sky as the sun sets along the horizon line. A slender tree on the righthand side frames the composition and draws attention to the quiet village in the distance. Throughout, the paint handling is loose and energetic, alluding to the dynamism of weather conditions in flux and leading some critics to complain that Daubigny’s paintings were more like studies than finished compositions. This gestural application of paint foreshadows the broken brushstrokes that would become a quintessential feature of Impressionist painting. This painting is on view in the Winegardner Auditorium.