Charles François Daubigny

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Charles François Daubigny, 1817-1878

Le Berger et la Bergère. The Shepherd and the Shepherdess.

1874

Original etching in black ink. 1874. Signed with the scratch signature lower right, and with the date. Extremely early proof impression, with the arm of the shepherdess corrected but before various rework in the areas of the rays of the sun and the foliage. Before any of the editions for L'Art, and before any engraved lettering. Very rare in proof state. Ref: Delteil-Daubigny Peintre Graveur no 122 second state of eight, image completed but before any rework. Melot 122 ii.

Superb sparkling proof impression. On pale cream chine appliqué with a cream stiff wove backing sheet. Excellent original unrestored condition. Backing sheet 14x11 1/2ins. Plate: 11 1/4 x 8 1/2ins (288x218mm)

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A superb very early proof impression of one of the most famous compositions of Daubigny's later period. The image is as completed (i.e. with the arm of the shepherdess changed) but before some retouching in the area of the sunlight through the trees. This proof is prior to the deluxe impressions issued by L'Art. Printed on chine appliqué it has an exceptional richness of tone, but has none of the over-inking seen in the issued impressions. Early proofs such as this are extremely rare. Daubigny was one of the outstanding landscape painters of the Barbizon group in the mid 19th century. Inspired by Corot's approach to the treatment of light, and by the realism of his friends such as Théodore Rousseau, Daubigny sought to express the true unromanticised atmosphere of the open-air. His themes were the rustic scenes of countryside around Barbizon, where he and many of his fellow painters worked. His work stands out for the richness of the effects of light. He enjoyed the drama of approaching storms, and he was at his most beautiful in studies of early morning or evening sunlight filtered through foliage. Daubigny was interested in etching as a medium from as early as the 1840's. He exhibited etchings regularly in the Salons. He enjoyed the way that the play of the black line on the surface of the paper generated emotional lighting effects, and by the 1860's he was achieving a drama of light and a range of tonality in his etchings which marks then out as amongst the greatest landscape prints of the age. Le Berger et la Bergère is one of the very finest of his etchings.

 
 
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