Friday, August 28, 2009
Charles-Francois Daubigny ~ Field of Poppies along with Monet Poppies
Impressions of Poppies could easily have been the title of this post. Charles-Francois Daubigny had a way of painting that looked very sketchy. In the mid-19th centurty, the public was used to artists who painted in such a fashion that brushstrokes could not be seen. Imagine then an artist who comes along and begins to paint with small visible strokes of paint that leave the impression of a flower. In this case the dabs of red in Field of Poppies create the image of a red poppy. There were fields and fields of poppies in France at the time so these splotches would have been easily identified – remember that the visual cortex in the brain only receives about 20% of its input from the retina. Take a look at that white smudge in the upper left hand corner of Field of Poppies – it's no wonder that Daubigny's works were known as impressions - that is clearly a moon. The light from that moon draws you across the room, compels you to look at this painting. It is only a brushstroke of white. Your brain has created poppies and a moon. Daubigny was definitely twenty years before his time.
1874 was the year Claude Monet first exhibited his painting Impression, Sunrise that rocked the art world. Dancing and shimmering light. A painting that didn't look quite finished. Louis Leroy dubbed Monet's work and that of his friends Impressionism and the art world was never the same. These artists painted outside, not in the studio. Daubigny had been doing his painting outside for years. The Impressionists work looked not quite complete. Daubigny had been criticized for this for years. Daubigny it turns out became one of the champions of the new art. So much so that he resigned his position from the Salon in 1870 when it refused to accept one of Monet's paintings. Monet credits Daubigny as being an influence on his work. The two artists spent a great deal of time together including days on Daubigny's barge that he had outfitted as a studio to make painting out of doors easier. So it's not surprising that later Monet followed suit and had his own studio boat. In it he hung a portrait of Daubigny to honor his mentor.
Poppies, Near Argenteuil is one of Claude Monet's famous impressionist paintings. Take a moment to compare it with Field of Poppies. Little dabs of red become poppies. Daubigny lead the way for the Impressionists to turn the art world upside down. Monet was always grateful for the support of his friend and mentor Charles-Francois Daubigny.