Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Early Plein-Air Painters featured in Washington DC

“Vue de Capri/ View of Capri” (1851) by Vilhelm Kyhn.
Oil on paper, mounted on canvas. (Private Collection, London)
A small exhibition at the National Gallery in Washington features artists in Europe who pioneered using oils outdoors in the late 1700s, nearly a century before the Impressionists.

“Trinità dei Monti in the Snow” (1825/1830) André Giroux Santa.
Oil on paper, mounted on canvas. National Gallery of Art
The show includes Achille-Etna Michallon, André Giroux, Francois-Marius Granet, Jules Coignet and Jean-Jospeh-Xavier Bidauld, together with their better known successors such as Camille Corot, Richard Parkes Bonington, and John Constable.

“View of Bozen with a Painter” (1837) by Jules Coignet.
Oil on paper, mounted on canvas. 
Art critic Sebastian Smee of the Washington Post describes the show as radical, and one of the most important things going on in Washington right now. He says the effect is "Gorgeous! Warm sun illuminating the buildings and bridges on the island of San Bartolomeo. Oh! Vesuvius in the distant haze, beyond the backlit buildings of Naples. . . . The effect of light rinsing the eyes, of freshness and immediacy, of truth — it shouldn’t be so striking, so unaccountably emotional."

The show "True to Nature: Open-air Painting in Europe 1780-1870," is on view at the National Gallery of Art through May 3, 2020. 


Brian McElligott said...

My wife and I recently stumbled into this exhibit at the Smithsonian and it is remarkable! We both came away stunned at the quality of the works in the show. From Corot to total unknowns the work is amazing and is responsible for me getting out and painting our local creek 3 times in the 2 weeks since we saw this show. Highly recommend it to anyone in the area!!

james holland said...

Hi James and thank you very much for your post about this show.I'm in the UK and probably wouldn't have heard of it otherwise.I love this kind of work and the stories of these artists, especially the ones you name who tended to visit Rome and the Campagna.I hadn't seen any of the three sketches you illustrate and I notice that apart from their subject they have another thing in common. These examples show how work done on well prepared, quality paper can stand the test of time.Thanks again, I'll be looking out for the catalogue via the internet.