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THE CENTURY MAGAZINE.
tles against the stubborn resistance offered by the then reigning pseudo-classic school, whose art, with its dry conventions and pedagogic forms, had drifted so far away from nature. He advanced on his predecessors, however, by leaving behind their more romantic mannerisms, and carrying his art still farther into the domain of reality. Yet he never became commonplace or uninteresting. An artist in the true sense of the word, he imbued all that he painted with a distinct and personal charm.
We readily associate the names of Corot and Daubigny, and with reason. Notwithstanding the twenty years' seniority of the former artist, they were intimate friends, sharing many similar aspirations in art, while each still preserved his distinct individuality. Corot was more subjective, tingeing his works with his own peculiar poetic fancy. Daubigny, on the other hand, gave himself up more to the impression of the moment, endeavoring to express the local qualities of form and color in all their brilliancy and freshness. He did not reach perfection of style at the beginning of his career, but through most devoted study, guided by the native strength and originality of his views; nor did this high epoch of landscape-art come hastily or accidentally, but was made possible by the united efforts of many men and minds working together during the first half of our century. Therefore, in tracing the life of Daubigny, we shall likewise be following the gradual development through which art in France passed to its crowning results. He was born at Paris on February 15, 1817. As a child he played Copyright, 1892, by THE CENTURY Co. All rights reserved.
ENTRANCE TO DAUBIGNY'S HOUSE AT AUVERS.
MONG the landscape-painters of France who by strong and beautiful rendering of natural truth have in our century made their art classic, Charles-François Daubigny holds a high and distinguished place. When he came, Constable and Bonington of England, and Jules Dupré, Huet, Rousseau, Diaz, and Corot in France, had already led the van and won their first bat
ENGRAVED BY T. H. HEARD.
BOY'S HEAD. (FROM DAUBIGNY'S SKETCH-BOOK.) 1 with pencils and paints, and painting in his case was more or less hereditary. Daubigny was a weakly baby, literally passing the first few months of his life in cotton batting; and as soon as possible he was placed "en nourrice" in the country at Valmondois, where he spent some years, gathering in the open fields and woods physical strength and a love of nature at the same time. The early death of his mother and the remarriage of his father left him almost entirely to his own guidance, and he never received a very thorough school
Thrown upon his own resources at fifteen, he made up by practical work what might be lacking in university culture, and immediately began the beloved occupation of his life. All sorts of odd jobs fell under his hand, from the painting of picture-clocks to the making of illustrations and decorations of various sorts, useful in a commercial way. At seventeen he was his own master, and was studying seriously with a view to higher art. One idea had always haunted him, to see Italy. It was the usual pilgrimage for young painters of that day. A friend, Mignan, shared this desire, and arranged to accompany him. For the accumulation of the necessary funds they made a hole in the wall of their garret, and here, sou by sou and franc by franc, gained in all sorts of work, they gradually amassed in about a year what they deemed to be sufficient. One day, at the suggestion of Daubigny, the wall was broken into, and out came some fourteen hundred francs in various kinds of coin. A few days after, with
1 The reproductions in this article from Daubigny's sketch-book are made by permission of Mrs. Daubigny.
packs on their backs, sticks in hand, and with stout boots, they started to make the journey on foot. We can imagine how the perspectives that opened must have intoxicated these ardent young souls. They passed Lyons, and entered the more tropical vegetation of the South; then between the Rhone and the Alps they marched on to enter Italy. They visited Florence, Rome, and Naples, drawing the monuments and visiting the museums as they passed, studying the marvels of that fatherland of art. Many were the material privations they suffered in order to prolong the stay, sacrifices willingly made to the love of their art; but after some eleven months, Mignan, who had left his fiancée behind him, began to grow homesick, and back they started. It was probably well that they did, for they had only two louis left when they reached Troyes. Old friends came on from Paris to meet them, and the remainder of the journey was a series of fêtes.
This Italian visit does not seem to have much affected the art of Daubigny; his works of this period are excessive in their devotion to detail, suffering, indeed, from his over-conscientiousness when before nature. He admired at this time, also, the works of Charles de Laberge, an artist who treated nature from an almost microscopic point of view. Among the studies that he brought back from Italy, when the accumulated treasures of the trip were spread out for the admiration of friends, was one of a thistle, most carefully worked out in all its details and remarkable for its truth. His friend GeffroyDechaume, the sculptor, remarked on seeing it: "What was the need of going to Rome to do that? You might have found it at Montmartre." Among these friends were Meis
sonier, Daumier the celebrated caricaturist, Steinheil the designer, Trimolet, who after ward married Daubigny's sister, and others. They had arranged to live together and mutually to help one another to succeed, keeping house in the Rue des Amandiers-Popincourt. A simple life, earnest work, and joyous recreation was their program, and Daubigny was not the least gay among them. He cheerfully accepted any work Providence might choose to send him, drawings on lithographic stone, in pen and ink, bill-heads, prospectuses, and worked, too, for some time in the atelier of restorations at the Louvre, under Granet.
All of the brotherhood gave their spare time to study, and each year, in turn, one prepared a serious work for exhibition at the expense of the rest. Daubigny had made his début in the Salon of 1838 with a "View of Notre Dame and the Isle St. Louis," and when his
turn again came he wished to do something of more importance. He painted "St. Jerome in the Desert," and sent it to the Salon of 1840. The landscape of this composition is a souvenir of the mountains of Isère; amid the rugged hills, under an evening sky, St. Jerome is seen kneeling in prayer. There is a flavor of Poussin and Salvator Rosa about it, showing that Daubigny still held on to so-called classic traditions. It was at this time, his picture having been favorably received, that he thought of trying for the Prix de Rome, and with that intention entered the École des Beaux-Arts under Paul Delaroche. At the opening of the concours there was much hope of his getting the prize, and such probably would have been the case, had he not in his heedlessness failed to fulfil all the necessary formalities. He neglected to be present at a certain hour, going off instead to breakfast