Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“
[graphic][merged small][subsumed][merged small][ocr errors]
[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

It was at this time that the master's health producing his best work. Whether on copper began to fail. Exposure to all sorts of weather, or canvas, he always treated his subject in the absorbing the miasmatic vapors of morning and same broad, masterly manner, keeping the evening on the rivers, had no doubt told se- means subservient to the end pursued, and no verely upon his sensitive and delicate tempera- artist has left work showing wider range or verment, and renewed attacks of asthmatic gout satility. His works record the beauty of his cut seriously into his painting time. He did own country, for while he visited Italy in his not appear at the Salon of 1875; it was his youth, England in 1866 and 1870, Spain in first absence since 1848. In 1876, however, he company with Henri Regnault in 1868, and sent“ The Orchard," an immense canvas, some Holland, which he describes “as blond as the ten feet in length, depicting the time when women of Rubens," in 1871, he does not seem apples are ripe, and are gathered under the to have found in these places the inspiration for changeful sky of breezy October. The whole his greatest pictures. effect was that of a “ symphony in green,” re- In appearance he was of medium height, lieved here and there by the richly colored fruit, his complexion inclining toward olive, with and touches of flowers among the grasses. The dark hair and eyes, a strongly set head and summer of 1876 was spent on the Normandy forehead, well filled in its reflective and percoast at Dieppe, and he there made a number ceptive portions, and of an open, sympathetic of studies, among them a “ View of Dieppe," expression, indicating much bonhomie, and at which appeared in the Salon of 1877. With it the same time great penetration and power to he sent another “Moonrise,” contrasting in its discriminate. In manner he was genial, modtender poetry with the vigor of the first-named est, and entirely without assumption, giving his picture, which he had completed in two sittings, counsels more as a comrade than as a master; one for the drawing and another for the paint- his advice having weight from its intrinsic ing. His malady gained fast upon him, how- worth, rather than from any manner of imever, and a hypertrophy of the heart suddenly parting it. His whole nature was childlike in carried him off on February 19, 1878, just as its impulsive directness. He never kept syshe had completed the sixty-first year of his age. tematic account of his works or progress: it

We have not spoken of his etchings and il- was his to do the work; others might reckon lustrations. He was one of the revivers of the up and classify. His methods were extremely former art, and the many powerful plates that simple. He usually prepared his own canhe left testify to his power with the needle, both vases, and continued this practice long after a as a means of expressing new ideas, or in re- world-wide reputation would make it appear

ܙܙ

to be anything but an economical use of his cluded the purchase of the property on which time. He would begin a picture by sketching he built his studio, he amused himself by telling in a few broad traits with charcoal or brush, them, “ This picture is to pay for

my

house,” and then lay in his masses freely, keeping the and it was sold for thirty-five thousand francs. colors from the start clear, rich, and pure. The If a French peasant understands anything it is palette-knife played an important part in cov- the value of a sou, and this immense amount ering large surfaces, which he afterward worked to the rustic minds gave them forever afterward into form and detail with the brush. For great respect for painters and painting. smaller pictures and his river studies he pre- “Ah," said to me Ferdinand Guilpin, his ferred panels of oak and mahogany, first coated old gardener," he was a good, kind man, M. with a priming of neutral gray. He was one Daubigny; the goodness of such people cannot of the first painters to begin and complete be told. And M. Corot, too, he used to put large canvases out of doors. He would fasten on his blouse, light his pipe, and sit down to them in place with stout stakes, working with paint in the middle of the road like any workfury when the effect was propitious, often leav- man. He had a merry word for all who passed, ing them in the open fields during the intervals and was a rare good fellow. Those were the to the mercy of wind, weather, cows, and small times when ‘les vallées' were full of life. Monboys. The truths he sought were of far more sieur Daubigny would go off on the plain in vital importance than surface polish, and this the early morning, work an hour or two, and direct outdoor work, guided by his artist's in- then start for the river. Sometimes he would stinct, gave to his pictures great freshness of come to draw my donkey, or have some execution, as well as an added interest from rabbits let loose in the kitchen here to sketch the point of view of composition and sentiment. from. I always attended to his garden, in which

He painted as freely as a bird sings. His joy- he was very much interested, and it was a ous, emotional temperament rarely looked at great loss to me when he died. Such times will life and art with the deep melancholy view of never come again.” Then Mère Sophie, his Millet. Perhaps we find more of the joy of good wife, chimed in: “And don't I rememspringtime in his earlier works, and later on ber how we took the Prussians in here during come the “moonrises” and “ twilights," when the war to keep them from spoiling M. Daulife's cares had awakened in his heart a deeper bigny's house. I had the keys, and knew he sympathy with the tender mysteries of eve and would not like the place being ransacked, so night. He never philosophized much about I stowed them all away here. It was only art or reduced his ideas to literary form. A for a few days, but when monsieur came he lack of early education had left him ignorant made me a very handsome present; and M. of books in general, and his work gave him but Karl, poor child, who was in the National little time to study them afterward, had he so Guard during the siege of Paris, when at last desired. This, however, may have made him he was dismissed from service, ran straight more purely a painter, thinking always in form across the country here, in the night, without and color, free from any foreign preoccupa- stopping. I was out in the yard in the early tion whatever, content to express the joy he felt morning, and when he arrived he called out, in nature just as he received it. "What does Jardinière, jardinière, some milk, give me some

it matter ?” he would say. “There are always milk!! He was terribly thin and worn, and I people who are paid to know all one has need thought he would never stop drinking. Then of, without counting the dictionaries.” And so he went into the house, threw himself on a bed he did not stop painting to read. Particularly just as he was, and slept for twenty-four hours." did he enjoy the society of his chosen comrades, And so the old folks, seated at each side of and no social pleasure could compare with a the big open fireplace on a Sunday afternoon, quiet evening at home, or with friends, discuss- when Ferdinand has lighted his pipe after ing art. He loved his house and home, and having shaved, will gossip on, lingering with was his children's best playmate. Seldom was regret over the eventful days of the past

. the table without guests, and here his kindly hu- Daubigny never hesitated if his impulses carmor made every one feel happy. Whether at ried him toward new experiments. He boldly the Emperor's reception or in a laborer's cot- undertook them, regardless of profit or loss. tage, a like politeness was extended to all, and when death came it found him still occupied the peasants of Auvers remember him with with new problems, and several large unfinished respect and affection. They might not fully canvases make one regret that the master's have understood his pictures or their import- hand should have been stayed so soon. But ance to the art-world, but they felt his fine per- as he himself said, “ ()ne is never reasonable ; sonality and genuine interest in their life and like La Fontaine's wood-cutter, we never wish work. When he was painting “ The Island of to be making the last fagot.” In his frank, exthe Valleys at Auvers," just after having con- temporaneous way of working he seemed to

[graphic]

BY PERMISSION OF F. L. AMES.

« THE SETTING SUN."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

have set himself free from all schools and in- ment more than photographic precision, and Auences, yet the early lessons learned from these he always obtained. There was a rude Poussin, Ruysdael, Claude Lorrain, and during vigor in his technic, tempered by great delicacy his visit to Italy, always remained with him, in the perception of tones and tints, that adds and gave an elevation and largeness to his own interest by its very antithesis. He did not reach fine, innate sense of composition. Perhaps no results by feeling after them so much as by landscapist ever enjoyed the velvety richness grasping his subject firmly and by painting it of vegetation more than he, and he never failed at once. His entire freedom from false pride to carry his greens up to the key of nature. A and personal vanity is vividly shown in the less refined painter would have gone beyond, following anecdotes : into crudity; but while attempting the greatest Come,” said he one day to a friend,“ I am possible brilliancy, he always stopped at the going to pai.. the Botin." The friend followed right place. Nature, seen through his eye, was to see the production, as he thought, of another never crude; and after all, is it not the eye that masterly sketch, and was much surprised, on ardetermines all differences of quality in painting? riving at the river, to see Daubigny arm himself There is no absolute truth; we each see and do with brush and paint-pot and lay in vigorously as our organization permits, and a universal on the side of his beloved boat. It had not ocstandard of judgment decides what is best. curred to him, with his usual habit of self-help,

Daubigny brought into landscape-art greater that the village house-painter's time would be freshness and spontaneity than had yet been less valuable. At another time, in July, 1874, seen, and his work first seizes you by its force, just after his promotion to the grade of Offiand then charms you. As poems of nature cer of the Legion of Honor, he had come up thrown off in the heat of passion and feeling, to Paris to pay the usual visit to the Minister so his works affect you, and continue to do so of Fine Arts. Returning to his home on the the more they are studied. “He painted better Boulevard Clichy, in full dress of black with than he knew” when with palette-knife and white necktie, he was met by Vollon, who debrush he dashed in effects instantaneously, and manded: one wonders how so much can be expressed “What are you doing here, with the therby such slight means. He was among the first mometer at ninety in the shade ? " “impressionists,” and “realism was one of “A duty visit; but I am off again to-morhis mottos, but how different his art from that row," replied Daubigny. too often called by these names to-day. It was “ Then you are alone?” not the coarse materiality, the surface qualities,

“ Yes." and the bare opticaleffect alone that hesought to “ Come to dinner at my house." render. He penetrated deeper, and the surface Willingly,” and arm in arm they walked was always the outgrowth and expression of a over to Vollon's. spiritual center. The thing and the thought, “ But, now I come to think of it,” said Vo!the spirit and the matter, were equally balanced, lon,“ my wife is also in the country, so we must and never did he put a touch of color to can- turn housekeepers, and prepare our dinner." vas that had not first passed, no matter how Off they went to the baker's, grocer's, winerapidly, through his own spiritual self. His in- merchant's, and roasting-shop, soon reappearterpretation of nature was direct, and he sought ing, Daubigny with a loaf of bread under one to obtain scientific truth; but art, too, for him arm, a bottle of wine under the other, and with was expression, never mere reasonless imita- papers of pepper and salt sticking out of each tion alone. A presiding intelligence, and still pocket, while Vollon, with a view to saving the farther back an impulse of soul, directed the new officer's broadcloth, took charge of the production of all his works. He found his ideal turkey and other fatty purchases. in the real, and set to work to record it. Thus Some extracts from letters to his friend Heneach work was the result of a fresh emotion, riet also give clear glimpses of the inner man. expressed in its own way; and if you see fifty In 1860 he writes : pictures by Daubigny you will find each dif

I have bought at Auvers thirty perches of land, ferent in conception, color, and execution, as all covered with beans, on which I shall plant the motive itself differs. The great amount of some legs of mutton when you come to see me. illustrating done in his earlier days had much They are building me a studio there, some eight humanized his art, and he dropped in figures by six meters, with several rooms around it, which and animals here and there most happily, not will serve me, I hope, next spring: The Père Corot always drawn with academic precision, but full has found Auvers very fine, and has engaged me

to fix myself there for a part of the year, wishing of life and movement, taking their proper place in the effect of the whole. There are drawings be truly well off there, in the midst of a good lit

to make rustic landscapes with figures. I shall by him that show he could refine as well as any tle farming country, where the ploughs do not when he chose; but he valued life and move- yet go by steam.

66

« AnkstesnisTęsti »