Back

Charles François Daubigny

1817 - 1878

Place Born

Paris

Place Died

Paris

Bio

Charles-Francois Daubigny is regularly associated with the Barbizon school of landscapists, although he spent little time in Barbizon after 1850. Daubigny did for the rivers and waterways of the Ile-de-France what Rousseau did for the Forest of Fontainebleau, establishing incontrovertibly the special beauties of this distinctly French countryside. Equally important, Daubigny’s friendly support of younger artists made him an immensely influential connection between the landscape masters of his own generation and the Impressionists and their contemporaries.

Daubigny was born into a family of painters — his father was a landscape painter who had studied with Bertin (a classical landscapist). He himself would pass the tradition onto his son Karl (1846-1886). As a child, Daubigny was raised in Valmandois northwest of Paris, where he would later make his own home. His initial studies were with his father and the animal-landscape painter Brascassat, and he painted on his own at Saint-Cloud and the Forest of Fontainebleau. At 19 he embarked on a year’s travel in Italy, the standard training for a conventionally ambitious artist loyal to the classical tradition. In 1837 he enrolled briefly in the studio of the history painter Paul Delaroche (where Millet was also a pupil) and participated in the initial competitions for the Prix du Paysage Historique. Although he began exhibiting landscapes at the Salon as early as 1838, Daubigny supported himself well into the 1850s as an illustrator, providing wood engravings for magazines and song sheets. He spent the summer of 1844 in Barbizon but the following year he worked at L’Isle-Adam and Valmandois, beginning a long association with the river-crossed landscape around Pontoise. By 1846 he had established friendships with Rousseau and Dupré who were then painting at L’Isle-Adam; and his own landscapes were becoming more naturalistic. By 1851 he knew Corot, later his closest professional friend. In the 1850s, Daubigny’s landscapes began to achieve popular success, although many critics never became comfortable with his broad paint handling, which was often criticized as sketchy and unfinished. Daubigny traveled regularly through France, frequenting the Normandy coast as well the Dauphiné in the south.

In 1857, he was named to the Legion of Honor in recognition of the Salon success of Springtime (Paris, Musée d’Orsay), a government commission. That same year he launched his specially outfitted studio-boat, the ‘Botin,’ which allowed him to travel easily along the Oise and its many small tributaries, painting riverbanks and river bends from a unique vantage. During the 1860s he exhibited in London, Brussels, and Antwerp and began to win significant commercial success. Elected to the Salon Jury in 1865 and 1868, Daubigny used his position to argue on behalf of younger artists, including Pissarro and Boudin. In London during 1870-71 he introduced Monet and Pissarro to his own dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel; and later he met Cézanne, whose sketches he admired. In 1875 ill health began to restrict his travel. Daubigny died in 1878.

Alexandra Murphy

Art Works Sold

Landscape with a Pond and Cottage

Sold or not Available
Historical Period: 1840-1900 Realism to Impressionism
Landscape with a Pond and Cottage