Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Daubigny’s voyage on his boat studio and how it’s great to get away from the traditional studio and be part of the landscape.

 The weather is cool enough to go outside and enjoy the great outdoors and the changing of the season. Instead of sitting inside and letting the day pass you by, you can go fishing, biking, walking, bird watching, and even play Pokémon Go. It’s important to enjoy your surroundings and the beauty of nature. So go view the landscapes around you and the change of the hour in the day like Charles-François Daubigny.

Charles-François Daubigny created a boat studio in 1857. He called it Le Botin (Little Box) and it was furnished with a bed, kitchen, and painting materials. While it allowed him to stay on the river and paint, it also provided a way for him to visit friends or patrons in different places. Daubigny traveled on the Oise and Seine near the Auvers.
Charles-François Daubigny, Washerwomen, (c.1861) oil on panel,
9 5/8 x 18 3/8 inches, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Edward C. and Mary Walker Collection

As an artist, it allowed him to view landscapes from different perspectives. These perspectives were consisted of human and animal activities on the banks of the rivers, boats on the river, the contrasting angles, and the hours in the day. 
Charles François Daubigny, Boats on the Oise, (c.1865) oil on wood
38.5 x 66.5 cm, Musée d'Orsay, Collection RMN
 Daubigny was an Impressionist painter, who caught the ephemeral moment like many other Impressionists. However, he created a way to stay on the site where he would not have to leave and carry his supplies back to his studio. Le Botin gave him the opportunity to stay on location, no matter the weather, and overnight since it provided shelter.
Charles-François Daubigny, Setting Sun over Oise, (c.1865) oil on
mahogany flooring, 39x67 cm, Musée d'Orsay
Collection RMN
Scholars like Michael Duffy, state that Daubigny’s boat studio took him directly into the country, where it was not accessible except by river. Observing nature firsthand became a symbol to the Paris art world and contributed to his originality as an artist. Daubigny painted from the water instead of off the riverbank. It was more like a pioneering composition of stripping away the conventional background and having more of an observance of nature. Nature gave a new composition of framing his work. Duffy also mentions how Daubigny’s paintings changed in the late 1860’s and early 1870’s. During this period, Daubigny delved in deeper into Impressionism with his greater spontaneity of execution, strong physical presence of paint, and broader chromatic range in color. Daubigny showed strong contrasts in sunlight, shadows, and difference of distance from the river. 

When Daubigny sailed the Seine and remote places near the Seine Valley, his landscapes started to convey more water than they previously did. To Daubigny, the river became an interesting and important subject. Not only, did it give a new idea of conducting painting, but a new structure of the studio that can be part of the landscape itself. Besides contributing to his landscapes, the river offered fertility and trade to the provinces. Daubigny depicted several sketches of life on the Le Botin, such as fishing, sleeping on the boat and communicating with someone on shore. 

Charles-François Daubigny, Le Mousse a la peche, (c.1862)
Charles-François Daubnigny, Bedtime in Boat, (c.1862)

Charles-François Daubigny, Cambronne's Word, (c.1862)
 Duffy states that Daubigny believed that the boat studio brought freedom. By depicting life on the river in his work, he was able to show this freedom to Parisian viewers and other artists. Daubigny’s friends believed that the boat studio was an untiring commitment to his craft.

His studio created a connection with his viewers and inspired young artists, in particular, Monet. Monet kept a small landscape by Daubigny in his studio for inspiration. He also constructed his own boat studio in 1873. He was mostly in Argenteuil, depicting international merchant ships, fishing vessels, and old dories, which is a boat with a narrow, flat bottom, high bow and flaring sides. While Monet had a boat studio, he never had the chance to paint or meet on the river with Daubigny.  In taking in consideration of Daubigny, we all should go out and enjoy nature and observe it by outside activities or just admiring it’s beauty for we are changing the landscape.

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