Musée d'Orsay: Jules Dupré Oak Trees and Pond

Jules Dupré
Oak Trees and Pond

Oak Trees and Pond
Jules Dupré (1811-1889)
Oak Trees and Pond
Between 1850 and 1855
Oil on canvas
H. 102; W. 84 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

La mare aux chênes [Oak Trees and Pond]

After training as a decorator on porcelain in his father's factory, Dupré turned to painting in 1829. His meeting with Théodore Rousseau was a decisive moment. Working alongside him, he learned to treat nature with sincerity and depth.
Dupré was influenced by Constable and the English landscape artists, whom he discovered during a visit to London in 1834. He also admired 17th century Dutch painting, while at the same time being very influenced by Romanticism. Oak Trees and Pond reveals these many influences.

The overall composition of the painting – the water winding between the trees, the eye drawn towards the far distance– is reminiscent of Dutch painting, particularly Ruysdael's work.
Partly painted from life, this painting was the result of work on sky, light and clouds reflected on water. Dupré depicts an enormous, twisted tree whose branches reach up to the heavens, a very Romantic way of expressing the power of nature compared with man. The few characters in the scene are so small that they are hardly noticed alongside the animals drinking at the pond.

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