The Forest of Fontainebleau. A Life-Sized Studio. From Corot to Picasso

ARCHIVE
2007

1

2


The Forest of Fontainebleau occupies a central place in the history of 19th century art. Bruandet, a pioneer of painting from nature, moved there at the end of the 18th century. A few years later he was followed by Bidauld, Aligny, Desgoffe, Brascassat and notably Corot who would go there when returning from Rome or en route to Italy.


Théodore Rousseau (Paris, 1812–1867)
 Groupe de chênes, Apremont [Group of oak trees, Apremont], circa 1850–52
 Oil on canvas
 H. 63; W 99 cm
 Paris, Musée du Louvre, Paintings section, Thomy Thiéry legacy (1902)
 © Photo RMN / © Rights reserved
Théodore RousseauGroup of oak trees, Apremont© DR - RMN-Grand Palais (Musée du Louvre) / DR

In 1853, Theodore Rousseau came to stay in Barbizon, and was later buried in this forest where he had made his first studies in 1829. There he would draw, sketch and paint, “exploring the visible”, subsequently attracting Diaz, Troyon, Dupré, Charles Jacque and Millet – a whole generation who would radically transform landscape painting. It was there they searched out their motif: trees, rocks, sands and marshes, chosen from a relatively limited number of sites, which the early tourists would identify, classify and rank.
Claude MonetLunch on the Grass© Musée d'Orsay, dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt
They were soon joined by the pioneers of photography, Le Gray, Cuvelier and Balagny, in search of an open-air studio.

Around 1860, Charles Gleyre sent his pupils there to do their first technical exercises: Renoir, Sisley, Bazille accompanied by Monet who worked there on what would become the manifesto of modern life: Le déjeuner sur l’Herbe. Foreign artists used to make an obligatory stop there on their tour of France or Europe; in short, the Forest of Fontainebleau, which had been discovered by the Romantic writers in the 1820s, became a fashionable location and, for painters, it offered a magnificent, life size studio, which would be visited again by Redon, Seurat, Derain and Picasso in 1921.

1

2


Enlarge font size Reduce font size Tip a friend Print

Facebook
TwitterInstagramGoogle+YouTubeDailymotion