A beautiful oil on canvas painting of the Creuse Valley at the Puy Barriou by French Impressionist Painter Armand Guillaumin.
A Pioneer of the impressionist movement, and a friend of Cézanne and Pissaro, Armand Guillaumin was one of the founding members of the group that organized the first impressionist exhibition in 1874.
He also exhibited his works at the first ‘Salon des Refusés’, created by Napoleon III in 1863.
Unlike the other members of the group, being of a modest family, he was forced to work at night and painted only in his free time.
Guillaumin was born in Paris in 1841 and started working at the age of 15 having no academic background and no money to finance his studies. In 1860, he was hired by the Paris-Orléans railroad and then by the Pont et Chaussées. For about thirty years he would lead a tough life, balancing hard work and his dedication to his art …
In 1886 Guillaumin married Marie-Joséphine Gareton, a young teacher whose family was originally from the Creuse department, it is during his courtship that he would discover and learn to love this region.
By the end of the decade Guillaumin would go on to win the trust and admiration of the art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, who would organize two exhibitions dedicated to his paintings; a first one in 1886 in the United States and a second one in Paris in 1898, where he would end up selling 54 paintings of the 64 exhibited!
Incredible luck smiled on him, when, in 1891, he won the jackpot of the national lottery. Freed from financial constraints, he decided to settle in the village of Crozant in the Creuse Valley, and dedicate himself to his art.
Crozant is marked by a landscape endowed with an infinite multitude of tones. The bright colors of autumn linger, until they give way, quite late, to those of winter, dampened and subdued. In an atmosphere purified by the cold air coming down from the mountains, the colors stand out on the landscape.
Spring brings a variegated vegetation that dots the ground with silver reflections, covered with white frost, with tender but lively colors, that soften the morning mist.
In the summer, the hills are resplendent with broom with golden petals, the fields and hedges are saturated with the carmine of foxgloves. In late summer and autumn, the mountainsides are covered with a profusion of purple heather.
Guillaumin’s talent lies mainly in his very personal vision of color. He also had a sense of structure and a fine flair for composition.
Vincent Van Gogh was a fervent admirer of Guillaumin’s work and would particularly praise his talent as a colorist.
Guillaumin died in 1927, one year after Claude Monet, making him the last of the great Impressionist painters of the early years.
The painting presented is a view of the Creuse Valley from the Puy Barriou on a frosty day.
In a horizontal format, the artist has verticalized his view by arranging trees on either side, thus framing the relief. Our eye is first caught by this bright orange tree in the center of the canvas and then naturally guided towards the deep and sinuous gorges, giving, in the distance, a glimpse of the river reflecting a sky alight with purple.
All the brushstrokes are visible, short, close together, or longer and more sinuous. They personify the technique the Impressionists used to make their effects more vivid as we can appreciate in this painting…
In the foreground, it is remarkable to realize how many different colors the painter used to reproduce the glowing reflections of the sky on this frozen landscape.
Here again the use of the color palette is very extensive. We see pinks, amethysts, blues, purples, oranges side by side, mixing and opposing each other to create this effect of depth and intensity.
One of Guillaumin’s strengths was his ability to present his landscapes in a palette of exceptional intensity. He was the first to use such vivid colors and inspired painters who would later be called “the Fauves”.
In effect, Guillaumin was a Fauvist before his time.
An admirable painting by Armand Guillaumin on his favorite subject which make his fame.
The painting is on its original canvas, in an excellent state of conservation, no restoration to report, signed in the lower right corner.
Gilded wood frame
The dimensions are:
Canvas 15 3/4 X 23 1/4
Frame 21 3/4 X 29 1/4
Provenance : Private collection Paris France
This work will be included in Volume II of the catalog raisonné of Armand Guillaumin’s work currently being prepared by the Comité Guillaumin.