This exquisite little Barbizon painting captures a tranquil hamlet of thatched cottages lining a small body of water where a boater docks in the shallows. The sky is ominous and gloomy, suggestive of weather moving in on the valley as the clouds hide the tips of the surrounding mountains.
Notable is the incredible use of color in even the more reserved portions of the painting - even a small patch of sky will have dozens of pigments worked into the clouds with a vigorous brush stroke. It is a luminous little scene that shows Dupre's mastery of light in his paintings - the light of the hidden sun is refracted beautifully through the center of the scene where the glow takes on an entirely different body than the light on the more shadowed sides.
The lower left corner bears his signature "Victor Dupre" over a date of 1850. It remains a stunning painting for any serious collector of the Barbizon School of artists. It is currently being conserved to clean the surface and restore the scuff (by the primary thatched cottage).
Léon-Victor Dupré was born in Limoges, France in 1816 to François Dupré, a porcelain manufacturer. He studied painting under his well-known brother Jules Dupré. From 1839 through 1878 he exhibited at the Paris Salon regularly and achieved a strong reputation for his emotive Barbizon landscapes. He specialized in these landscapes, often with dramatic scenery of mountains, bodies of water and animals; he was particularly skilled in his use of light to enhance the drama and effectively eliminate nostalgia in a scene. After a long and difficult battle with illness, he died in 1879 in L'Isle-Adam.
Previously acquired from the Schwarz Gallery, inventory no. in black ink verso: RS 3043
Measurements: 19 3/4" W x 15" H x 2 1/2" D [frame]; 13 3/8" W x 8 5/8" H [panel]
Condition Report: Professionally conserved at which point it was cleaned and a new varnish was applied: minor touch ups completed to extreme edges of painting where frame rubs and touch up to a light scratch in mid-low-left quadrant. In a later giltwood frame, this with minor scuffs and giltwood losses.