Continental European after 1800, Yorkshire and the Humber: Artists and Subjects 32 Is this sunset view a nineteenth-century painting by a French artist and, if so, who was the painter?

SHEF_MSH_VIS_1002
Topic: Artist

This painting was the subject of an earlier discussion, where no firm conclusion was reached.

Grant Waters, Group Leader of the Art Detective groups East of England: Artists and Subjects and South East England: Artists and Subjects, believes the painting to be French and connected to an artist belonging to, or influenced by, the Barbizon School. But who?

Edward Stone, Entry reviewed by Art UK

32 comments

William Laborde,

A prima vista from the online photo, I would suggest this is potentially the English landscape artist Henry Mark Anthony. He was heavily influenced in style by Constable and yet also has a record of working and painting around Paris. The group of figures at the foreground somehwat suggest the influence of the latter mentioned English colleague whilst the overall tone is clearly Barbizon.
The handling is comparable to many of his works which have gone through the art market and can be found online. Another particular note which leads me to this suggestion is the breadth and handling of the sky, the way the clouds stream accross - and the defined use of orange in the background sunset, a colour which seems a hallmark in many of his compositions.

For further comparisons, see his works on Art UK in Wolverhampton, Maidstone and Sunderland.
The Maas Gallery has a wonderful sunset by him which is suspected to be taken from the surroundings of Paris.
http://www.maasgallery.co.uk/british-pictures-2016/image?view=image&format=raw&type=orig&id=1830

Jacinto Regalado,

The work certainly feels French and recalls Daubigny, but without a signature it will be difficult to pin down a specific artist.

Jacinto Regalado,

Basically any number of French landscape painters influenced directly or indirectly by Corot could have done this picture.

Antoinette Gordon,

I agree, Charles-Francois Daubigny immediately came to my mind. The 2016 Nat. Galleries of Scotland (Edinburgh) Exhbn "Inspiring Impressionism, Daubigny etc" displayed a very large landscape titled "October 1850-78", No.111, Cat. p.116. This depicts smoking fires from heaps of tipped municipal rubbish, with night-soil carts in action amongst scattered waste including animal bones. However, C-FD signs off many of the airborne plumes of smoke, with elongated squiggles. Under magnification, such a squiggle is visible in our picture.
Our picture has other characteristics of C-FD, although it is rather small for C-FD; many of his paintings were not signed.
Is there any further provenance? Anything on the reverse?

Jacinto Regalado,

I thought of Boudin, but he was primarily a sea painter as opposed to Daubigny, who was closely associated with river scenery, and this picture is more Daubigny-like. The son and pupil of C. F. Daubigny, Karl, was also a landscape painter whose work was sometimes confused with that of his father.

Jacinto Regalado,

This painting was a gift from J.G. Graves (1866-1945), a Sheffield businessman and philanthropist and also an art collector.

Jacinto Regalado,

In the earlier discussion, why was Daniel Sherrin considered in the first place? Because Sheffield also has work by him? Was there any indication or documentation from Mr. Graves, the donor of this picture, regarding the identity of the painter?

Antoinette Gordon,

Herewith additional info to my earlier comment - the large Daubigny painting "October 1850-78" (87.5 x 160.5) (stamped "Vente Daubigny") is in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam - visible via Internet. Note the unusual treatment of the air borne ends of the plumes of smoke, as similarly visible in our picture.

Jacinto Regalado,

John George Graves donated his collection of nearly 700 pictures to the art gallery that bears his name in Sheffield, which I assume is where this painting resides. Obviously whatever papers or documents of his are available to the gallery could prove useful. Presumably he bought this in London, and it might help to know from what dealer.

Jacinto Regalado,

In the earlier discussion, I see that Clive Hamilton suggested Daubigny as well as his pupil Hippolyte-Camille Delpy, who was also partial to river scenes, and whose work was exhibited in London in 1908, in the Grafton Galleries (which also showed work by Daubigny in 1905). Delpy's work was closer to the Impressionists than Daubigny's, and this picture seems closer to Corot (and thus to Daubigny) to me.

Raymond Pettigrew,

I must agree with the opinions that this is Barbizon School
I lean heavily towards Corot. The whole atmosphere that he
creates----that sense of stlllness and calm, the whole lay-out
and use of colour in a very small scale.
There is a little splash of red in the boat on the figures.I would
have expected to see his signature in red bottom right!
Apart from that we really need to see the backs of these paintings.
Raymond Pettigrew.

Robert Munn,

I had just had a look and was going to say it was quite Corot and then I see the previous comment from Raymond. I agree. The colours are in the darker spectrum then say Eugene Boudin...?

Barbizon School seems a strong possibility. However, to be more specific is going to be difficult. For example, Charles-Francois Daubigny, Karl Daubigny and Hippolyte-Camille Delpy all favoured this kind of composition -- a landscape of wide horizontal format, the view looking across water, with a very low horizon.

It would certainly be helpful if the collection could let us know of any clues on the reverse -- in the way of inscriptions, stamps or labels --and also confirm the size. The measurements given convert to 5 1/4 by 8 3/4 inches, or roughly A5. Is the painting really that small?

Museums Sheffield,

I'm afraid that we have no information on record of what is one the reverse, but I will check when i am next up at the store. It does mention an illegible signature bottom right, which I will also check.

It is indeed a very small work.

We also have it listed as 'Unknown French School'

Museums Sheffield,

Please see the attachments for images of the back of the frame and the signature - which was very hard to photograph, as you can see.

Kieran Owens,

Attached is a composite, which contributors to this discussion might like to consider. It is made up of some labels from the back of this painting and are compared to those from the back of that other discussion subject, the supposed painting of Savonarola, both of which are donations to Sheffield by J. G. Graves.

Common to both paintings are fames that seem to have been made by the same frame-maker, from what would appear to be the same lengths of wood (see the grain on each and the cross-batons in the corners, as represented in the bottom two images of the composite). Could both of these frames have been made by Gladwell Brothers, perhaps after they brought back both pictures from Paris in 1892? I am not suggesting that 'Sunset View' was bought at the Marquis de Valori's sale, as no picture in the catalogue matches its dimensions, but it might have been bought during that same trip from another auction or art dealer.

Additionally, both paintings have titles and attributions ('Portrait of Savonarola', by Masaccio & 'Sunset View', French school) that appear to have been written in the same hand on labels that would appear to be the same size. Could these have been written by J. G. Graves after he purchased them? An analysis of any descriptive labels on other works donated by Graves to Sheffield might prove this to be the case.

Also, both paintings have labels that read '7/38'. Could these numbers refer to a date, such as July 1938, when, perhaps, they came into either Grave's ownership or into the Sheffield collection?

Perhaps other works donated by Graves have a different combination of similarly styled numbers. The VADS website shows that Graves bought at least one painting of this style (in this case definitely by Daubigny) from Christie's in 1933, which he donated to Sheffield in 1935. Might this work have a ?/33 or a ?/35 label on its reverse (the question mark representing here an unknown month)?

https://vads.ac.uk/large.php?uid=84376&sos=3

Finally, studying the img.5636 attachment above, and given the slope of the letters of the name on the canvas, the signature on 'Sunset View' would appear to have been made by a left-handed painter. As in the attached image below, comparing the signature with those know to be by Daubigny, which in the main slant to the right, might suggest that the painting is not by him.

Osmund Bullock,

Attached is the most readable image I could make of the signature. I think one can just make out a hint of it, and matching paintwork above, in the bottom right of Art UK's image of the whole painting. Comparing the size of this with the height of the painting (which we know to be just 134 mm), I estimate that the tiny off-vertical dashes that comprise most of the signature are at most 1-2 mm high.

This of course explains why it is essentially illegible. The artist has just made a quick and perfunctory attempt at one with the very tip of a small brush, not bothering to form most of the letters - in the context I don't think the left-lean (far from unique to left-handers) can be seen as significant, or the form to be typical. Other than the word's length and perhaps the first letter (which is a bit taller), little can be deduced. The beginning could certainly be read as a 'D-', possibly 'CD-' and perhaps even 'CFD-'; and the rest can be made to fit '-aubigny'. But being brutally objective, it could be made to fit a lot of names...

1 attachment

Just to throw another artist into the mix, have you considered Jules Dupré, who worked en plein air with Daubigny in the area around l'Isle Adam in the 1840s. His late canvases are often very heavily worked but he favoured motifs such as ponds, trees, fishermen, boatmen, etc. On the other hand, the free handling, light tonality in the sky and and setting sun are very Daubigny.

While I've no idea re: artist I would read the latter part of the signature on the back corner as' ...man': that is, three faintly connected vertical strokes, a blob of the brushpoint in making an 'a' and the last two verticals as 'n' the same way as the 'm'. I don't see a 'y'.

Antoinette Gordon,

The signature/s evidence is most useful. The extensive C-F Daubigny reference in Vol.3, E.Benezit, 'Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs', pub.1976, illustrates on p.369 two clear examples of Daubigny's script signatures. The principal characteristics are: the eight letters are inscribed individually (not linked up), the very large flourished capital 'D', the firmly impressed vertical down-stroke of the 'b', the elongated tails of the 'g' and the 'y' swinging nearly horizontally leftwards. I suggest that these features can be recognized in the photos of the signatures presented to us, which should aid the confirmation of C-F Daubigny as the artist of this painting.

Lin Sproule 01,

My first thought was Daubigny.
Photos will often pick up colours which can't be detacted by the eye so brushstrokes in photos if compaired with known Daubigny signed paintings could give an idea but looking at the originals of both is the best way to judge an artist.

Kieran Owens,

If this painting is by Daubigny, it is most likely that it depicts the Oise river, near Herblay, in the department of Val-d'Oise, France. A Google search for 'Daubigny + Oise' and 'Daubigny + Herblay' will return many similar paintings to this one by him. Equally, a visit to http://www.charles-francois-daubigny.org/the-complete-works.html might also help with a positive attribution through a comparison with the 199 oil paintings shown therein, as well as the clear signatures that may be seen on many of them.

Kieran Owens,

Equally, the attachment above from an earlier posting shows how widely varied his signature appears on various works, so just comparing this painting's one with those from Benezit is quite restrictive. Without meaning to be disrespectful, the real difficulty here is the extremely poor quality of the image supplied by Museums Sheffield of the signature on this work. Surely it is not beyond the professional capabilities of the collection to have the work and especially the signature clearly photographed. There must be filters or photoshop techiniques that would allow for a clearer presrenstion.

Kieran Owens,

Sorry, last word above should of course have been presentation.

Martin Hopkinson,

There is a second Daubigny, whose signature should be compared with this signature, Karl [1846-86] , C F's son , who began exhibiting at the Salon in 1863. I have not seen enough of his work to say if he ever painted in this style

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